News that the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) will be in place by December this year is welcome because the sooner this is implemented, the better the security of persons and property in the region.
It is indeed reassuring to hear that ministers from 10 countries that make up the EASF expressed their dedication to see the force operational before year end as they wrapped up a meeting in Kigali on Friday.
This force is needed because well known terrorist groups such as FDLR, ADF-NALU, Al-Shabaab and LRA lurk in the region and their cowardly attacks have hurt civilians in the past.
EASF is needed as soon as possible because relying on the outside world for our security has never worked to our satisfaction; therefore there is need for a home-grown solution.
Indeed, reports of better performance of African troops in peacekeeping missions in Africa have been trickling in and that should indeed be an incentive to strengthen regional, African standby forces that would intervene in helping to keep peace both at home and at the neighbourhood.
Whether it’s from Rwanda where the brave Senegalese Capt Mbaye Diagne died while trying to save people targeted in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. or in the ongoing conflict in the Central African Republic where Rwandan troops in the peacekeeping mission have reportedly done well given their experience with the Genocide back home, the evidence for what works to keep peace in Africa is overwhelming.
With that in mind, a philosophy that home-grown solutions in Africa, or our Eastern Africa region for that matter, work for us should inspire the drive to fast-track attaining full operationalisation of the EASF as soon as possible.