BY FELLY KIMENYI
The Chief of General Staff Gen. James Kabarebe is today expected in fly to Nairobi, Kenya for a meeting of the Eastern African Standby Brigade (EASBRIG).
The meeting to be attended by defence chiefs from member countries of the regional body will take place on Thursday. It will be followed by another meeting of defence ministers from member states.
A source in Nairobi, said yesterday that the military chiefs meeting would be attended by all the eight signatories to EASBRIG.
The source said that other officials from other countries would also attend.
The meeting comes four months after the setting up of the new implementation mechanism of the brigade.
“So far, two army chiefs that have arrived for the meeting are those from Burundi and Comoros. We expect most of others to have come by tomorrow (today),” the source confirmed on phone from Nairobi yesterday.
The two countries whose defense chiefs arrived have not yet become full members as they have not yet signed to join EASBRIG.
The new mechanism which is called EASBRIG coordination mechanism was approved by the council of ministers in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January and subsequently, the Secretariat was set up in Nairobi in April.
Leaders from Rwanda, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Comoros, Eritrea, Madagascar, Kenya and the Seychelles signed the agreement to in 2004. Madagascar, Comoros, Burundi and Tanzania are also expected to join soon.
The meeting will take place under the chairmanship of Uganda, which is the current chair of the organisation.
Following the establishment of the body it had been agreed that a 3,000-strong East African brigade will soon be on standby to carry out peacekeeping operations under the flag of the African Union (AU).
However it is said that the members have hitherto only pledged the troops.