NYARUGENGE - Premier Bernard Makuza yesterday called upon member states of the Eastern African Standby Brigade (EASBRIG) to continue supporting the force financially and in human resource for effectiveness.
He said this while opening the Council of Ministers’ Meeting of the Eastern Africa Ministers of Defence and Security, a council whose 13 member states make up the EASBRIG. This force, which is expected to be in place in 2010, will have between 6,000 and 7,000 personnel.
“EASBRIG, like any other organization, can only fulfill its mandate and mission if it has the appropriate legal framework, structures, personnel, equipment and funding to ensure effectiveness,” said Makuza during the meeting that took place at the Kigali Serena Hotel.
He said the responsibility lies upon member states to implement the AU Protocol that put in place the regional standby brigade. Similar brigades were established by this protocol for other regional groupings all over the continent.
Makuza reiterated the need for a speedy establishment of the Standby Brigade because of several conflicts in the region that have hampered development.
“The Eastern Africa region is one that has been plagued with conflicts and calamities. Existing conflicts such as those in the Horn of Africa, Darfur, the presence of threats to Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi in Eastern Congo are clear examples of the need to have a robust peace and security mechanism,” said the Premier.
The director of the EASBRIG Coordination Mechanism (EASBRICOM), Simon Mulongo, said that so far, the organization has finalized an eight objective strategic plan which include elaboration on the structures and processes that can support the full range of the standby force.
“Also incorporated in the plan is the development of a force support system capable of sustaining regional capabilities,” said Mulongo, who heads the Nairobi-based EASBRICOM.
Earlier in the week, he had informed the meeting that brought together Chiefs of Defence Staff that the operational exercise of the force will be conducted in November this year.
Rwanda has already made available one battalion as her contribution to the brigade.