Security plans by EAC defence ministers timely

Security plans by EAC defence ministers timely
East African Community Partner States Ministers for Foreign Affairs in a photo with other delegates (photo credit: Courtesy)

The defence ministers from the East African Community met for the sectoral council on defence and inter-state security function held in Arusha last week and resolved to strengthen regional security.

They discussed the status of the implementation of Previous Decisions of the Sectoral and the Activities planned for January to June 2022.

In attendance was also the South Sudan Minister for Defence and Veteran Affairs Angelina Teny, who was part of the regional security leadership, that focused on various issues.

This meeting followed the previous Joint Sectoral Council on Defence, Inter-State Security and Foreign Policy Coordination, held in August 2021. In that meeting, the leaders adopted a framework for establishing a Regional Youth Peace and Security Platform.

The meeting had directed the EAC Secretariat and the Partner States to operationalise the platform and develop a Peace and Security communication strategy. 

This was to facilitate awareness creation on the existing Peace and Security structures and promote coordinated and meaningful participation of youth at all levels in implementing the platform.

So, the defence ministers in the area need to coordinate their activities to empower the youth and prevent them from getting into violent acts or being lured into armed conflict. 

Secondly, the coming together of the defence ministers would help in combating crimes in the region if as well as stopping the negative forces from causing insecurity along the international borders.

The East African countries need to have coordinated activities just like the rest of the other regions. For instance, in the West African countries that have contained the spread of terrorism in the area. In the last few weeks, Uganda has witnessed a serious attack from terrorists on two separate occasions that shook the country.

The government blamed an armed group in its West Nile for being behind the attack though ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks. 

Although the Ugandan security agencies had quickly responded to the act and minimised the threats if the area does not come together with a good security framework to counter, such threats may spread to the whole region in the future.

It is known that terrorists always have a specific reason as to why they attack a particular area or country, but this does not stop them from spreading their network beyond the territory of their target. 

In this case, the regional defence ministers need to coordinate in the fight against terrorism.

Need for teamwork               

Apart from the issues of terrorism in the region, there is also a need for security along the borders especially the highways that link countries together. 

There are illegal activities taking place along the porous borders, linking South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan and Uganda. 

There have been several reports about wildlife poaching and trafficking and this mainly takes place in areas with poor security. 

The EAC defence ministers need to join hands to strengthen security along the borders and stop the negative forces such as the Lord Resistance Army and Skeleka rebels from terrorising the peace at the borders.