Kigali, Rwanda – The 8th Inter-Parliamentary Relations Seminar (Nanyuki Series), organized by the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) in conjunction with AWEPA, took place on 31 October and 1 November in Kigali, against a background of efforts to contain the heightened insecurity in the region.
The Nanyuki Seminar (VIII) themed: “Insecurity and Terrorism as Threats to EAC Integration: How Can EAC Develop a Common Position” brought together an estimated 250 participants drawn from Partner States National Assemblies, EALA, academicians, high ranking Government officials as well as other regional stakeholders.
The two-day Seminar ended with a call for a multi-dimensional and regional approach to security, while bearing in mind that the consequences of terrorism cannot be fully contained within national boundaries.
The legislators called for the development of a conceptual framework on terrorism in the regional context that addresses relationship to other crimes such as money laundering, human and drug trafficking, poaching and the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW).
A Resolution passed during the Seminar further calls on EALA and National Assemblies to develop a joint platform to work on issues of peace and security in the region, while another consensus is to urge Partner States to expedite the ratification and implementation of all regional peace and security related protocols and commitment.
The need to develop a deliberate programme of inclusion for persons and sectors of society that are often left out of the peace and security initiatives, such as women, youth, children and various minorities, was also addressed.
Delegates at the seminar called for the deepening of commitment to the development of a shared East African identity by promoting the use of Kiswahili as a lingua franca, observing the same driving side and adopting a common time zone. Earlier on, the Heads of delegation made key statements speaking to the theme of the conference.
Hon. Tony Ayoo of the Parliament of Uganda noted that Parliament of Uganda had passed legislation to integrate combatants back into the society. At the same time, community policing has been strengthened and capacities to share information enhanced. He noted that the recommendations of the 8th Nanyuki series would be tabled on the floor of the House in the Parliament of Uganda.
Hon. Florence Kajuju of the Kenya National Assembly, remarked that integration was key. The Kenya National Assembly, according to Hon Kajuju, ratified the Protocol of the Monetary Union last week on Thursday 30 October 2014. She mentioned that sensitization was instrumental to enable ownership by the citizens. The legislator noted that Kenya had been hard-hit by terrorism and added that the Defence forces were on the high alert. “We must engage in seeking lasting solutions to the challenges of peace and security,” Hon Kajuju said.
According to Hon. Prof. Juma Kapuya of the United Republic of Tanzania, peace and security was a pre-requisite to economic integration and Partner States should to do all it takes to firmly rid the EAC of terrorism. “We need to share security intelligence, and strengthen border community initiatives on the same time”, Hon Kapuya said. “Joint mechanisms for policing framework and building joint capacity on counter-terrorism are likewise key”, he added.
Hon. Ramadhan Karenga of Burundi National Assembly cited cybercrime, kidnapping, terrorism, maritime piracy and internal conflicts as some of the areas that must be contained. “The dream of free movement will not become a reality if we do not address the problems. We must achieve peace and security to drive forth our economic growth”, Hon Karenga said. He remarked that Burundi had set up a four point security framework, aimed at assuring internal public security, promoting good governance on security matters, capitalizing and valuing various resources of post-conflict gains and setting up special mechanisms to prevent and fight terrorism.
Senator Jacqueline Muhongayire of Rwanda noted that genocidal ideology and extremisms, such as youth radicalization, were responsible for terrorism and trans-border crime. She said
Rwanda had ratified all regional Protocols that were signed by the Partner States. The Protocols are on Foreign Policy Co-ordination, Protocol on Co-operation in Defence, Protocol on Peace and Security, Protocol on Anti-Narcotics and Drug trafficking. “We call upon Partner States to ratify the same”, Senator Muhongayire said.
Addressing participants yesterday, a political analyst and university don, Prof Adams Oloo told the Partner States to provide a clear hegemony in the securitizing process to contain terrorism, and strengthen regional security. Prof. Oloo mentioned that disunity in the approaches taken by each state in addressing security issues beyond borders was detrimental to security. He called for shared understanding on what constitutes common threats to their survival as a region. According to Professor Oloo, mistrust and suspicion between Partner States should be curtailed as this would contribute to the lack of progress in implementing a regional security strategy.