KAMPALA - Officials at the East African Community (EAC) peace and security conference have resolved to immediately tackle the region’s security problems and proposed the creation of a tough regional joint force.
The meeting that ended Wednesday in Kampala also agreed on the formation of a panel of peace envoys to spearhead resolution of conflicts in the region.
In several interactive sessions by security experts, the meeting underscored the presence of threats that arise as a result of the region neighbouring conflict-prone countries.
Attended by top security chiefs from all the five partner states and experts from different regional and continental organisations, the conference reiterated the need for development of a regional peace and security framework.
The framework, they said, would enable the regional bloc to collectively undertake peace support operations when required.
They particularly emphasized establishment of a specific force which they argued should be capable of safeguarding the bloc’s interests in a timely and appropriate manner.
They demanded that the force should comprise of both the active and reserve army contingents, capable for the collective protection of the community’s land, rivers, lakes and ocean resources as well as the unified airspace.
The structures for such a defence force will be based on ongoing joint training operations like the concluded ‘Ex Mlima Kilimanjaro exercise’ in Tanzania and ‘Exercise Natural Fire’ which kicks off tomorrow in Kitgum, Uganda.
On EAC funding difficulties, the officials asked the community’s secretariat to identify sustainable domestic, alternative sources of funding the integration process, and warned that overdependence on external aid is a threat to sustain integration.
Establishing observatory mechanisms and institutions at a regional level was another issue the delegates largely demanded.
These mechanisms, they said, would monitor and assess the effectiveness of governance and democratic systems among EAC’s institutions of governance.
At the closing ceremony presided over by East African Affairs Minister Monique Mukaruliza, EAC Secretary General Juma Mwapachu announced that the secretariat would deliberate on how often the peace and security conference would be held among the partner states.