Synchronising courses taught at Command and Staff Colleges of all the East African Community member states will help strengthen defence capabilities of the regional bloc, and eventually lead to a common military doctrine.
This was said by different military officials, yesterday, during the opening of a three-day meeting bringing together senior officers from EAC Armed Forces Command and Staff Colleges.
The meeting, which is taking place in Kigali, aims at reviewing the status of cooperation between the region’s military colleges in terms of sharing experiences and other areas.
According to Col James Barigye Ruhesi, the chair of EAC defence liaison officers, the existing good relations between the member states would even improve further if courses offered in military colleges are fully harmonised.
“We need harmonisation in the region so that we have the same doctrine because once the harmonisation is fully achieved, we expect to have an EAC military doctrine which will enable interoperability and have a synchronised way of executing our duties,” said Ruhesi.
Ruhesi, who is from Uganda, noted that, so far, all the colleges in the region apart from South Sudan (which has no college) have got an exchange programme with sister colleges among themselves, periodically exchanging students and instructors.
“I cannot say that it is an immediate process, it will take time but, at the moment, I can happily say that the packages of colleges are at 75 per cent harmonised, the calendar is the same, the colleges start during the same period, the courses ran for the same duration and most of their activities are done concurrently,” he added.
According to Major General Jean Bosco Kazura, the commandant of Rwanda Defence Force Command and Staff College, as EAC member states try to work together for regional integration in various areas, the military cannot be left behind and there is need to work together to ensure they have a common understanding in military perspective.
“If you look at the global trend and the region, in particular, the conflicts and all the problems faced can be sustainably dealt with if military response is harmonised. I think it will be better for all of us to move forward towards sustainable peace,” he said.
All EAC member countries are represented at the meeting, apart from Burundi and South Sudan with the latter yet to establish such a college.