KIGALI - Top military officials of the East African Community (EAC) are meeting in Kampala, Uganda as part of efforts aimed at upgrading the existing Memorandum of Understanding on defence cooperation into a protocol.
The cooperation is spelled out in the agreement which was signed in 1999 by the three EAC founding members, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania and later acceded to by Rwanda and Burundi.
“The seminar is all about looking at what was done and having a protocol that is legally binding,” Jill Rutaremara the Director of Defence, Planning and Cooperation in the Ministry of Defence said by phone from Kampala yesterday.
The meeting, Rutaremara added, will examine various documents with the aim of coming up with a protocol, “Unique for the East African Community”.
The Head of training and operations, Brigadier General Jean Bosco Kazura and his deputy, Colonel Michael Nkurunzinza are the other officials representing Rwanda at the meeting.
The bloc’s efforts to foster defence cooperation last year included joint military exercises by the EAC Partner States’ armies as well as the first-ever EAC Peace and Security Conference held in Kampala.
During the exercise ‘Natural Fire 10’ held in Uganda last year, the EAC Deputy Secretary General (Political Federation), Beatrice Kiraso, described the joint training exercise as “another milestone for EAC cooperation in defence” adding, that “The future of cooperation in defence is bright. This process will deepen the levels and widen the areas of cooperation”
In addition to hosting a special forum on defence this year, the bloc will also host other important events including the 3rd East African Investment Conference, a high-level conference on railway development and the EAC conference on food security and climate change.