A standby police force of the Eastern and the Horn of Africa regions will be ready for deployment next year.
The force that will be known as the Formed Police Unit (FPU) and it is expected to be ready by 2010.
This was revealed yesterday at the opening of a five-day workshop in Kigali, which brought together representatives from the Eastern African Standby Brigade (EASBRIG) Coordination Mechanism.
The Brigade will allow member countries to maintain peace in the regions without relying on international forces.
Speaking at the opening of the workshop, the Acting Commissioner General of Police, Mary Gahonzire, said that the force’s presence on the continent was paramount since peacekeepers from the UN and elsewhere have often proven inefficient at a time of need.
“Although in the past we have been depending on the UN and AU for peacekeepers, they have failed on several occasions: Take the example of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and in other places.
I believe this is going to help our continent in bringing back peace in countries with conflicts,” she remarked.
Speaking to The New Times, the Acting Director of EASBRIG, Peter Marwa, said that all preparations to put the force in place were in high gear given the fact that all member countries were in full support of the cause.
On top of the police unit, EASBRIG is also expected to establish a military wing.
The force which will be composed of police, military, and civilians from the 11 countries that make up the eastern African regional bloc, will be charged with maintaining peace in the member countries.
EASBRIG is one of the five regional standby brigades of the African Peace and Security Architecture whose ultimate objective is to develop a continental capability to respond to crises like conflicts and disasters that continue to plague the continent at the expense of development.
According to the training officer attached to EASBRIG in Nairobi, Supt Peter Karake, the force will be fully armed and well equipped and it will be in position to carry out the peace operations.
“We want to plan expeditiously for the implementation of the force because some regions like SASBRIG of Southern African Development Community (SADC) are now ahead of us,” he said.
He however cited the different languages used within the region and lack of resources as some of the barriers in the implementation of the initiative.
“We meet some constraints when it comes to the harmonisation of our activities most especially the linguistic problem and also lack of resources though member states have done a lot in helping us,” he said.
Countries that subscribe to EASBRIG include Rwanda, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Uganda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan and Burundi which joined recently.