“We have to position ourselves strategically in light of new security threats such as maritime, piracy, money laundering, terrorism and cyber crimes, among others, with the 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, Tanzania, Thursday.
In a speech read for him by Didacus Kaguta, EAC Peace and Security Officer, the Deputy Secretary General stressed that addressing and maintaining regional peace and stability continues to serve as a cardinal security agenda of the EAC 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, which is now before the EAC Sectoral Council on Legal and Judicial Affairs for legal input and endorsement.
The EAC Treaty recognizes peace and security as pre-requisites for the success of the EAC region’s integration and stability and security issues are even more pertinent now as the region advances with the negotiations for the Monetary Union, which is the third stage of the EAC integration after putting in place the Common Market Protocol which came into force in July 2010, the EAC official added.
“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 the achievements made through the integration stages are not threatened,” he asserted.
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,” Mr. Njoka said.
The meeting is attended by experts from military, police, security, prisons/correctional services, judicial and legal sectors coordinated 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.