ARUSHA - A peace and security conference scheduled for Kampala next month will discuss the formation of an East African joint force, The New Times has learnt.
According to an EAC press statement, the conference will examine the possibility of establishing an EAC-specific standby brigade.
The three-day conference will also focus on the role of defence services, regional and international co-operation, peace support operations and the role of state and non-state actors among others.
The forum follows several regional peace and security initiatives that include the ongoing first ever joint military field training exercise, in Monduli Tanzania.
Over 1,500 defence forces from EAC partner states are currently taking part in the military exercise, which many have described as a pre-requisite for the success of the regional integration process
When The New Times visited the military field training scene yesterday, hundreds of forces from the five partner states were seen carrying out joint humanitarian activities in neighbouring communities.
According to Brig. Gen. Nobert Kalimba, Rwanda’s EAC Defence Liaison Officer, the joint operations will contribute much in terms of capacity building and confidence building among regional forces.
“Such exercises enhance military diplomacy as well as confidence building among our forces. We also share experiences and learn from each other given the different backgrounds we all have,” Kalimba said in an interview.
The Kampala conference will cover areas of EAC Peace and Security Architecture, including the specific areas of trans-national and organized crimes, conflict management, democracy, good governance and conflicts over natural resources and borders.
Among other objectives of the conference, is sharing and popularising the community’s peace and security framework, as well as identifying potential security challenges facing the various integration aspects.