The failure in post-conflicts situations to groom civilised national armies geared not just to maintaining security but to foster peace, has often resulted in the sustenance of a mentality that a soldier lives for one thing – military combat.
Changing this mentality is what makes the just ended defence seminar pivotal in the process of engendering a spirit in the regional defence organ of promoting peace and security, in a civilised manner.
Held under the theme, ‘Managing Defence in a Democratic Society’, the regional bloc of defence personnel, comprising heads of delegations from the five member States, and Senior Defence and Liaison Officers from the EAC Secretariat, committed to encourage good governance and sound economic policies, in order to counter poor defence management, which often leads to continued conflicts and unnecessary loss of life.
The discourse takes place at a time when there is growing consensus on the role the military plays in post-conflict resolution.
So often transitions to democratic governance are hampered by the failure to immediately disarm and restructure the military in accordance with the values of a society which aspires for a military whose role is to protect citizens and its territorial sovereignty.
Thus, no sooner do some countries sign peacekeeping resolutions than they are they plunged into conflict again, meaning essential issues redefining the role of the military or ex-combatants to do with their role in justice and reconciliation would not have been adequately dealt with.
Neither would have issues to do with healing and forgiveness have been dealt with, making the Rwandan ‘Ingando’ process during her transition to democracy crucial.
The fact that Rwanda, fourteen years after the horrific Genocide has kept the peace, and can even afford to send her troops to other regions on peacekeeping missions, means she has come of age providing a model for other countries with fledgling peace processes to follow.