East African heads of state to sign defence, security pact

The heads of state of Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda are expected to sign the defence, peace and security pact during their next summit scheduled for Thursday in Kampala, Uganda.
Defence ministers; Raychelle Omamo of Kenya, Rwanda’s James Kabarebe and Crispus Kiyonga of Uganda after signing a defence pact in Kigali last month. File.
Defence ministers; Raychelle Omamo of Kenya, Rwanda’s James Kabarebe and Crispus Kiyonga of Uganda after signing a defence pact in Kigali last month. File.

The heads of state of Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda are expected to sign the defence, peace and security pact during their next summit scheduled for Thursday in Kampala, Uganda.

The pact is meant to strengthen regional security and partnership in the fight against terrorism, cross-border crime and other regional security threats.

 It will also put in place mechanisms to safeguard regional infrastructure that the three countries plan to put in place, including a railway line, an oil refinery and oil pipeline, among others.

Monique Mukaruliza, the national coordinator of integrated projects involving Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, and Rwanda said the heads of state will also assess the progress of some regional projects agreed upon.

They are expected to share progress on the projects being fast-tracked along the northern corridor, a statement from Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said in part.

The Northern Corridor serves Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, South Sudan and eastern DR Congo. 

During the meeting, progress  reports will be presented on achievements registered in various sectors since the last summit in Kigali in November last year.

Uganda will present a report on railway development, oil refinery development and political federation.

Kenya will report on energy generation, pipeline construction, and human resource capacity building in railway, energy, oil refinery and ICT development.

During their last summit in Kigali, the heads of state launched the single customs territory on northern corridor to help facilitate free movement of goods. 

The days that trucks spend on the way from Mombasa port to Kigali have since reduced from 22 to five. 

Use of IDs and EAC single visa 

The presidents are also expected to officially launch IDs as travel documents among the three countries as well as use of EAC single tourist visa to travel to Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda.

Other travel documents that are temporarily used are student’s cards, and voter’s cards among the countries that have not yet got national identity cards.  The two projects commenced in January this year.

Flavia Salafina, director of Information, Education and Communication at the Ministry of EAC affairs, said since the commencement of the use of IDs, over 49, 000 Rwandans have crossed borders using their identity cards, while 19,223 Ugandans and 6,500 Kenyans have crossed into Rwanda. 

Some officials say both Burundi and Tanzania -the other EAC members-will participate in the upcoming meeting.

Additional reporting by Gashegu Muramira in Kampala

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