GASABO - The interstates’ efforts for the Eastern Africa Standby Brigade (EASBRIG) to commence its peace and security keeping mission are in the final stages.
The move was announced yesterday at the opening session of a three-day meeting of East African defence and security experts at La Palisse Hotel, Nyandungu, Kigali.
According to Simon Mulongo, the revised framework of the EASBRI Coordination Mechanism (EASBRICOM) will be among the main issues to be considered in the meeting.
Mulongo, the EASTBRICOM Director cited setting up of the bloc’s Secretariat in Nairobi, Kenya and streamlining of the peace operation mission as one of the new developments.
Other developments include commissioning of a Force Support study and the plan for Command Post Exercise (CPX) to test the ability of the commanders and their staff officers.
He said that the CPX will also test the ability of senior civilian leaders in the region to skilfully plan and respond to emergencies.
“The planning element in Nairobi has been expanded from 8 to 15 officers in line with the AU and UN rules on the multi-dimensional and integrated peace support operations,” said Mulongo.
He added that the officers have included a civilian and police commissioner for integrated planning and operations.
However, Mulongo said that challenges like regional internal conflicts continue to deter member countries from committing forces and resources to the EASBRIG.
“For the conflicts in the region, EASBRIG is the solution,” he urged, adding, “Our mission will be specialised in peace and security matters.”
Insufficient funding to the EASBRIG activities and lack of comprehensive political, diplomatic and military regional cohesion were also reported among the other major challenges.
Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) Chief of General Staff (CGS) Gen. James Kabarebe who opened the meeting hailed the cooperation spirit that typifies the experts working group.
“I have no doubt that the recommendations that are to come from your deliberations will provide very significant inputs to the subsequent EASBRIG meetings,” said Kabarebe.
He noted that the recommendations will among other things, seek to address issues raised in the draft harmonisation study.
“I believe that a shared view of the standards we are striving to achieve will assist us in our continued efforts to prepare and develop EASBRICOM towards the realisation of its objectives,” Kabarebe underscored.
He said that in his opinion, EASBRICOM’s greatest strength and the key to its success is the quality of its staff and managers, especially the experts.
The EASBRIG is composed of Rwanda, Comoros, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Seychelles, Eritrea, Mauritius, Somalia, Burundi, and Sudan as member countries.
Others are Tanzania and Madagascar that have decided to be active in Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) regional bloc.