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The East African : Jun 7th 2015
The EastAfrican 28 OUTLOOK JUNE 6-12,2015 D E VE LO PME N T Northern Corridor countries establish common intelligence centre in Nairobi It will coo≥dinate sha≥ing of info≥mation between Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan By CHRISTABEL LIGAMI Special Correspondent A n intelligence centre has been opened in Nairobi to monitor and address threats posed by terrorist groups in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan. The centre will co-ordinate sharing of information on security and intelligence matters between the four Northern Corridor countries. According to Mwenda Njoka, Kenya’s Interior Ministry spokesman, the centre will be used for joint training on investigation skills and on ways to protect borders. “It will specifically deal with security challenges like cybercrime, money laundering, piracy and human trafficking within the four partner states,” said Mr Njoka. In a statement made recently, the Regional Centre on Small Arms (Recsa) said it will begin a disarmament drive in East Africa in 2016. Recsa executive director Theoneste Mutsindashyaka said that the disarmment will target cattle rustling areas in Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia. “We are currently looking for donors to fund the $3 million three-year project,” Mr Mutsindashyaka said on the sidelines of the launch of the Recsa project to enhance regional and states’ stability through the reduction United Nations Mission in South Sudan commanders inspect seized arms in Juba in 2014. The Regional Centre on Small Arms will have a disarmament drive in EA in 2016. Pic: File of the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. The African Development The centre is part of the common defence pact,” Simiyu Werunga, African Centre for Security and Strategic Studies Bank will provide a $1.5 million grant to Recsa to reduce the proliferation of light arms in the member states. The funds will be used for technical assistance. Defence pact Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda are expected to adopt a Mutual Defence, Peace and Security Pact before the end of this year. The pact aims at laying the foundation for EAC states to play a bigger role in fighting trans-national crime. Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda have already committed troops to the East Africa Standby Force, which is backed by the United Nations. Once adopted, the pact will al- low armed forces from member countries to conduct joint military operations when combating terrorism and other international crimes. According to Simiyu Werun- ga, director of the African Centre for Security and Strategic MANDATE The centre will co-ordinate sharing of information on security and intelligence matters between the four Northern Corridor countries. According to Mwenda Njoka, Kenya’s Interior Ministry spokesman, the centre will be used for joint training on investigation skills and on ways to protect borders. He added that, “It will specifically deal with security challenges like cybercrime, money laundering, piracy and human trafficking within the four partner states.” Studies, the newly established intelligence centre is part of the common defence pact that will soon be implemented by the partner states. “In this case, the EAC coun- tries will have a single defence territory, which means an attack on one will be considered an attack against all,” said Mr Werunga, adding, “In addition, the armed forces from the partner states are expected to work together in maritime patrols to ensure that the region’s international waters are free of piracy.” Mr Werunga said that the on- ly thing remaining for the adoption of the protocol is for partner states to ratify the security protocol. Mechanisms Ratifying the protocol will pave the way for various security-related mechanisms that have been concluded. They include the Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution Mechanism, which is critical to addressing inter and intra-state conflicts and de-escalation of tensions. So far only Rwanda has rati- fied the pact. Kenya is waiting for the protocol to be presented to parliament while Uganda’s Cabinet has already approved the protocol and submitted it to parliament for ratification. Having a single defence terri- tory has been a contentious issue for EAC member states. According to the pact, Burundi and Tanzania can join when they are ready. It also provides for other countries from the wider East African region to sign up, including Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea. It identifies at least 20 ob- jectives for fostering regional peace and security. These include combating terrorism and piracy; peace support operations; prevention of genocide; disaster management and crisis response; management of refugees; control of proliferation of small arms and light weapons; and combating trans-national and cross border crimes. The security protocol is im- portant for a political federation because all the important state organs of the EAC will have harmonised their laws. Budget and sta≠ const≥aints delay ≥egional small a≥ms p≥otocol By CLIFFORD GIKUNDA Special Correspondent MOST OF the national institutions that are responsible for the control of small arms in East Africa are weak, have no budget and are understaffed and this has been blamed for the delay in the implementation of the Nairobi Protocol of 2004. “Governments must provide resources for the national institutions responsible for the Nairobi Protocol,” said Francis Wairagu, programmes and operations team leader at the Regional Centre for Small Arms and Light Weapons (Recsa). So far, the national institutions, referred to as national focal points, are not funded by the 15 African member states of Recsa, making implementation of the protocol difficult. The Nairobi Protocol, signed in 2004, reaf- firms the inherent right of states to individual or collective self-defence as recognised in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. “Most of the existing legislation on small arms and light weapons in Recsa member states was enacted between the 1950s and 1970s. The legislation therefore does not respond adequately to modern challenges presented by the current issues related to firearms proliferation,” said Théoneste Mutsindashyaka, regional director of Recsa. While acknowledging that the problem of proliferation of illicit arms and light weapons in the region has been exacerbated by internal political strife, terrorist activities and poverty, he called for a strategy to deal with the sale, transfer and handling of small arms and light weapons. “Laws on firearms in the member states are too old and they need to be reviewed and harmonised. In Kenya for instance one is likely to be fined Ksh2,000 ($21) for being in possession of an illegal firearm,” said William Siaya, director of the Kenya national focal point. The protocol advocates for the modernisa- tion of government stockpiles by marking, improving storage facilities and enhancing accountability and transparency. On legislation, the protocol directs state parties to make trafficking, manufacturing and illegal possession of firearms criminal offences. Falsifying, removing or altering the markings on weapons should also be made criminalised. The state parties are also expected to es- tablish appropriate mechanisms for co-operation between regional and continental law enforcement agencies, which would address circulation and trafficking of arms across borders. According to experts, 15 new arms are manufactured every minute translating to millions of weapons per year. So far only Burundi and Rwanda have harmonised and modernised their firearms law.
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