Police, immigration, prison, natural resources and disaster management officials from Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya are meeting in Kigali to deliberate on regional peace and security.

The six-day conference, which started on Monday, is under the “mutual peace and security” pact of East Africa’s Northern Corridor integration projects. Other projects include borderless trade, free movement of people, and a 2,000 km standard gauge railway line.

Article two of the “mutual peace and security” pact stipulates that Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya will act together to fight crimes and protect their people against anything that would impinge on their common development strides.

Participants at the conference say that for the Northern Corridor projects to thrive, there is need for promoting and maintaining stability in the region.

Security organs have resolved to set up joint committees of intelligence, police, immigration, and correctional services, to act together in the realm of genocide prevention, fighting terrorism and fighting cross-border crimes such as drug-and human-trafficking, money laundering and cyber crimes.

“The conference will also look at complexities within the free movement of people and create guidelines on how these challenges will be addressed,” said Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Jimmy Hodali, in charge of Peace Support Operations (PSO) in Rwanda National Police.

The Northern Corridor seeks to accelerate the development of member states through shared infrastructure, trade, and allow for more political and economic integration of the bloc’s over 120 million population.

Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya, already enjoy ID-enabled free movements of people, and there is a single visa for tourists visiting any of the three countries.

“The conference will also design a mechanism open to other countries that will express interest to join one or all projects,” said ACP Hodali.

On February 20th, Presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya signed the “mutual peace and security” pact at a tripartite summit in Kampala, Uganda.

General James Kabarebe, Defense Minister for Rwanda, once challenged regional security organs that security challenges are there, “for us to solve and we shouldn’t expect any external help. We can only take Rwanda’s example in 1994.”

 

By: Didier Bikorimana