GASABO-Defence Minister Gen. Marcel Gatsinzi has implored senior military commanders from the East African Community (EAC) on the need for more robust budget allocations for regional armies.
“Defence forces have enormous constitutional tasks to fulfill yet their budgets are limited,” the Minister said when opening a four-day workshop on ‘Managing Defence in a Democratic Society’ at Prime Holdings, Kimihurura.
He also noted growing demands for the defence establishment to be accountable and transparent in ensuring regional security.
“In our region and the African continent, we are faced with challenges in terms of the full realisation of fundamental principles of democracy. Conflict and post conflict situations pose particular challenges to democratic values and their attainment,” Gatsinzi underscored.
He pointed out some of the current conflicts on the continent such as in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan and Somalia and said that the situations in these countries are associated with the existence of different armed groups.
Maj. Gen. Caeser Kayizari who chaired the meeting explained that the gathering was part of the annual series that have been organized for this year.
The first meeting was held in Kampala, Uganda and tackled issues of disaster management, followed by one on counter terrorism held in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, while one on Peace Support Operation’s which was held in Nairobi, Kenya.
Gen. Kayizari said that the purpose of these meetings is to consolidate the EAC defence family through participation in seminars on capacity building.
He added that the defence contribution to the noble agenda of EAC integration is through military trainings, exchange of information and joint operations.
“The charter of EAC stipulates that peace and security are the bedrock for a successful and vibrant bloc which other spheres such as development and social integration depend on,” said Kayizari.
He added that 20 years ago the situation in the region was characterized by security dilemmas and that as countries continue to embark on the road towards peace and security, much has been achieved though the tasks and challenges are still many.
Part of the deliberations will be on the planning for the grand structure of the EAC defence.