The East African Community (EAC) Deputy Secretary General in charge of Political Federation, Beatrice Kiraso, has called for the urgent establishment of a conflict prevention mechanism to timely respond to conflicts in the region.
The EAC official made the remarks in Arusha, Tanzania recently during the opening of a two-day experts’ workshop aimed at developing a Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (CPMR) framework.
In a press statement obtained by The New Times, Kiraso said that the mechanism would avoid responding to conflicts in an ad-hoc manner, usually only after conflicts have already erupted and on an individual country approach basis.
‘’A case in point is the recent post-electoral violence in Kenya and the crisis around the Migingo Island between Kenya and Uganda, where EAC was not able to intervene as a regional organization because it didn’t have a legal and institutional framework enabling it to engage in those conflicts, Kiraso said.
She told her audience that the EAC needed a region-specific mechanism because of its comparative advantage of being close to the sources of conflicts and sharing similar cultural backgrounds.
The Community is strategically located near countries like Sudan and Somalia that have for a long time been conflict-ridden.
‘’Without peace and stability, all our remarkable integration achievements will fall like a castle built on sand. Trade and development can only thrive in a secure and peaceful environment,’’ she stressed, adding that the vision of EAC is to have a peace, stable and politically united East Africa.
The EAC Deputy Secretary General said that large amounts of resources have been used for post-conflict reconstruction and peace building and yet far fewer resources would have required if early action had been taken.
She hoped that the experts would come up with a draft mechanism that would give the EAC the tools to engage in preventive diplomacy, conflict management and resolution as well as post-conflict reconstruction.
‘’The CPMR mechanism we want to establish is meant to have as its epicentre, human security in the EAC region. As we shape strategies towards political federation, human security must be at the centre of our priorities,’’ she said.