By Prof. Simon El hag Kulusika
OPINION – The conduct of effective foreign policy depends largely on the ability of diplomats in the foreign office and mission abroad to render accurate and timely advice to the minister responsible for foreign and international relations. Delay in doing that advice may result in costs for the country concerned. It may also result in serious embarrassment got the leaders of the country in question, as they will be behind clodeoscopic events sweeping the world.
To prevent what has been referred to above, the ministry of foreign affairs and the ministry of international relations, if they two entities, should have a legal advisor (or counsel) and a political advisor to the minister concerned. They can up – date the minister about latest international events before the minister departs got s cabinet or council of ministers meeting. Such up – dating adds more substances to the daily reports that are routinely submitted by foreign office to the head of state and the prime minister as the case may be.
Most, if not all sovereign States have what is known as legal Advisor, or legal counsel operating directly from the ministry of foreign affairs and international relations, or foreign and commonwealth office. These advisors offer legal opinions (or Fatawi) only to the minister concerned. They have nothing to say about political or economic or social or armed conflicts matters unless they have legal ramifications. As such, this article is contending that countries that do not have Political Advisor attached at ministries of foreign affairs and international relations should create such office to deliver political opinions promptly to complement opinions tender by political departments of the foreign office. Such a process will ensure accurate and live information being made available to the minister concerned.
Complications in International Relations
International Relations have become complicated because of the complex events taking place across the world. The events also change rapidly by the hour or even minutes. These events have various repercussions. They require careful handling based on expert opinions. The legal advisor or counsel may offer opinion in matters relevant to his or her expertise. Other matters related to politics, economics or sociology are not the business of the legal advisor or counsel. They call for specialist inputs from those with knowledge in politics, economics or sociology.
A simple example will suffice to illustrate what is claimed. Recently it was reported that there were explosions in Kampala. The Ugandan government accused an armed group for carrying the dangerous acts. The groups were said to have crossed into DRC. Uganda ordered its NDA units to pursue the armed groups across the borders into DRC to deal with them in self-defence.
The actions by Uganda have many serious and complex implications. They require specialized opinions. Not only s legal opinion. Another example is the decision by Nicaragua to withdraw from the Organization of America States (OAS). No doubt Nicaragua is free to determine in which regional or international organizations it may belong. But its actions as far as states members of the OAS and those far away have critical implications for international cooperation. A legal advisor alone cannot offer a more considerate opinion on Nicaragua withdrawal.
For the above simple explanations, this article would suggest to countries such as South Sudan (SS), Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, or many other countries without political advisors placed at the foreign affairs and international relations offices to appoint such advisors. They are required in a complex and changing world.
Opinions from diplomats and other ordinary employees in government service are crucial in the management of foreign affairs and international cooperation. But they may suffer from certain defects. Inputs overwhelmed by personal opinions or ideological persuasion. Poor research or faulty assessment of the unfolding events. To guard against such probable injuries s state should recruit experts to give professional opinions to ministers in the different departments of government, especially foreign affairs and international cooperation. It’s even more relevant for the latter department. As matters it encounters involve economics, finance, monetary, exchange rates, interests rates and how to prevent inflation. For example, the recent increases in interest rates by the USA Federal Reserve Bank and the Bank of England will have far reaching effects for global trades. The ministers of foreign affairs and international cooperation must be give correct analysis and assessment. This be better done by experts.
Events of all kinds taking place in a remote island in the Pacific ocean should not be ignore by countries in Africa or Europe, on the assumption that those events would be absorbed by the ocean and would not reach Africa or Europe. Those events on careful evaluation would be found have negative impacts on countries in other parts of the world. These countries will be safe if they can get right advices on those events.
To ensure timely reactions by governments to global crisis the experts must be relieved upon to deliver relevant and reliable insights.
The author is a professor of law at Zambia Open University. He can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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