Rwanda at forefront in arms control—EALA MP

A member of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) believes Rwanda leads the region in illicit arms control efforts simply because of its transparency and serious government involvement.

A member of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) believes Rwanda leads the region in illicit arms control efforts simply because of its transparency and serious government involvement.

Kenya’s Augustine Loile Lotodo, a member of EALA’s Committee on Regional Affairs and Conflict Resolution, said this yesterday in an e-mail to The New Times.

His comments come after he and three other regional lawmakers visited Rwanda just over two weeks ago for an “on-spot assessment of the EAC-GTZ Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) projects.”

“Why Rwanda is at the forefront is because of its transparency and clear management of the project,” Lotodo underscored.

“Our mission was impressed by the officers involved as well as the serious government involvement in the eradication of small arms and light weapons.”

On March 11, four EALA legislators, including Rwanda’s Odette Nyiramirimo, Uganda’s Margret Nantongo Zziwa and Lotodo arrived in the country to assess joint EAC-GTZ illicit arms control efforts.

The one-year EAC-GTZ partnership on SALW started in 2007 and ended in 2008. EALA is now emphasizing the need for the project to be ably sustained by all the five EAC partner states.

In accordance with the 2010 EALA calendar of activities, from March 9 - 13, separate groups from the committee on regional affairs and conflict resolution visited regional entities tasked with coordination of SALW control activities.

The committee sought to comprehend the functioning of the EAC-GTZ project, brainstorm on challenges and later make proposals and recommendations on the way forward to the regional assembly.

Lotodo revealed that a related session is scheduled to be held in Kigali from April 11 – 23, in which a report from their last regional tour will be discussed and recommendations made.

“We shall be having a sitting in Kigali. The report will be discussed and the recommendations made,” he noted, clarifying that the full report combining those from other partner states will be merged during the meeting.

“We were given a clear picture of the state of security of Rwanda, especially in regard to the EAC-GTZ joint project on small arms and light weapons. The project is going on well and one recommendation is to suggest the programme be extended to cover some light weapons which could not be destroyed by the cutting machines.” on the matter.

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