KAMPALA - Prime Minister Bernard Makuza has underscored the role of peace and security in the region, arguing that these are a prerequisite for meaningful integration.
The Premier was yesterday, speaking during the opening of the first ever regional peace and security conference at Speke Resort Hotel Munyonyo, Kampala where he represented the EAC chairperson, President Paul Kagame.
The conference, which was opened by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni was aimed at popularizing the EAC peace and security framework.
Makuza told his audience that that East Africa had in the past experienced conflicts which he said present lessons to be drawn from.
“Some conflicts were so deep rooted that they called into question the political legitimacy of the then existing governments,” Makuza told delegates at the security conference.
“The memories and resultant humanitarian impact of the violent conflicts in Burundi, the Genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda, the rebellion in northern Uganda and the post 2007 election violence in Kenya 2007 are still fresh in our minds,” Makuza added.
The conference, which forms part of the build-up activities towards the grand EAC 10th Anniversary celebrations later next month, attracted over 300 delegates from the five Partner States.
Conflict situations, Makuza said, can successfully be addressed and adequate solutions found if partner states apply to them the right approaches.
The Prime Minister added that for this to work out, there is need to treat the root causes of conflicts other than waiting to handle their consequences.
Later, Makuza and President Museveni witnessed the destruction of 3,500 small arms and light weapons, a function that was designed to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the regional bloc.
The conference, which ends on Wednesday, seeks to cover areas of EAC Peace and Security Architecture, including the specific areas of transnational and organized crimes, conflict management, democracy, good governance and conflicts over natural resources and borders.