MOROTO - The East African Community (EAC) Deputy Secretary General (Political Federation), Beatrice Kiraso, has reiterated the regional bloc’s strong commitment to the fight against proliferation of illegal arms in the region.
The EAC official was speaking during the Moroto Peace Race dubbed “Empowering and Talents Tapping for Enhanced Livelihood Options, the Path to Peace” that took place in Moroto, Uganda over the weekend.
“We are opening up borders and if anybody is armed illegally, they shall not be accepted to enter any of the partner states,” Kiraso said.
The race attracted people from across border countries including runners, conflict and peace building practitioners and provincial administration to address conflict issues.
Kiraso added that the regional bloc has already made efforts towards marking arms from institutions like army, police, and prisons in all partner states of the region.
“We shall also make markings of arms in individual hands,” she added.
Officials at the meeting largely blamed the proliferation of illegal arms in the region to conflict ridden countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Somalia, and Sudan.
On how to improve the livelihoods of East Africans, Kiraso called on societies living near borders to shift from cattle rearing and participate in many other income generation activities like agricultural production.
“The land should be better utilised, there are other opportunities other than cattle rearing,” she said.
“Peace has to be brought by you and not people from outside. This can only be done if you stop involving yourself in cattle rustling and build your communities,” Tegla Loroupe. a six time winner of marathons across the world, told warriors in Moroto
The Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation hopes that through this race, it will continue to address the marginalised pastoralists and agro-pastoralists problems, learn and share with them new and innovative ways of changing the perspectives and priorities of their communities.
This will have to include programs that care for their children, women and are of socio-economic benefit to the general society as a whole.