East African Community partner states must focus on educating their youth as a mechanism to mitigate insecurity and terrorism in the region, Senate president Bernard Makuza has said.
Makuza made the remarks as he addressed a two-day 8th Inter-Parliamentary Relations Seminar (Nanyuki Series) at Parliament Buildings in Kigali yesterday.
The seminar, under the theme, “Insecurity and Terrorism as Threats to EAC Integration: How Can EAC Develop a Common Position,” is organised by the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), in conjunction with the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (Awepa).
“The most efficient response to insecurity and terrorism is education, applying people-centred programmes and real opportunities for young people who are the most vulnerable as both actors and victims,” Makuza said.
The seminar brought together an estimated 250 participants drawn from regional national parliaments, EALA, academicians, top government officials and other partners.
According to Makuza, peace and security are a prerequisite to sustainable social and economic development and responds to the needs of ensuring that the achievements made are safeguarded.
“It is important that we have a common understanding of the complexity of insecurity and terrorism in the region and globally – their root causes, consequences and the appropriate solutions,” he said.
“There cannot be genuine integration if the community allows conflicting or competing positions with regards to insecurity and terrorism issues.”
Efforts against terror
The seminar takes place against the background of efforts to contain heightened insecurity in the region.
One of the major terror acts in the region include last year’s siege on a Kenyan mall by terrorists in which 76 people were killed and hundreds of others injured.
“In May 2012, EALA passed the EAC Conflict Management bill whose objective is to establish a conflict resolution management mechanism which will be responsible for indentifying possible sources of conflicts and devise response options,” said EALA Speaker Margaret Nantongo Zziwa
Zziwa said it was time for the region to develop its strategies that effectively respond to terrorist attacks besides instituting mechanisms such as crisis coordination and exchange of information.
At the end of the seminar, members are expected to draw functional relations between EALA and the national parliaments as envisaged in Article 49 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC.
“No single nation possesses all the means for effective security management, they may mean that we are living in an era where such challenges have become multi-dimensional, and in such regard, our responses should be multi dimensional,” Zziwa said.