The EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Political Federation Dr Julius Rotich has said the region needs a solid and practical peace and security strategy to counter various emerging security challenges.
“We have to position ourselves strategically in light of new security threats such as maritime piracy, money laundering, terrorism and cyber crime among others, with a view to ensuring that peace and stability in East African countries remain our top priority,” he said while opening five-day EAC partner states’ experts meeting to review the EAC peace and security strategy in Dar es Salam, on Thursday.
In a speech read for him by Didacus Kaguta of the EAC Peace and Security department, the deputy secretary general stressed that addressing and maintaining regional peace and stability continues to serve as a cardinal security agenda of the EAC sub-region.
The peace and security strategy is an operational policy document that mandates partner states and the Secretariat to jointly plan and respond to issues of peace and security in the region while awaiting the finalization of the Peace and Security Protocol. The latter is now before the EAC Sectoral Council on Legal and Judicial Affairs for legal input and endorsement,
the EAC Secretariat said in statement.
The EAC Treaty recognizes peace and security as pre-requisites for the success of the EAC region’s integration and stability, with security issues even more pertinent now as the region advances with negotiations for a monetary union. If realized, it would be the third stage of EAC integration after the Customs Union and then the Common Market Protocol which came into force in July 2010.
“Our joint desire for successful integration cannot and should not be frustrated by criminals or criminal activities and hence a need to move quickly to position ourselves through strengthening the peace and security strategy.
This will ensure that achievements made through the various
integration stages are not threatened,” he declared.
The chairman of the session, Mr. David Njoka, said the region cannot sit back without addressing critical new security issues, which can otherwise “divert us from our perceived objective of a united and prosperous East Africa.”
“Emerging security issues must be managed and tackled swiftly so that East Africans can carry out their activities without being inhibited by security threats,” he said.
The meeting is attended by experts from military, police, security, prisons/correctional services, judicial and legal sectors with coordination by the EAC Secretariat.
The five-day meeting is held with support of the German International Development Agency (GIZ), which has over the years supported a number of EAC Peace and Security programmes, officials added.