Deepened regional integration is the only way to go if East African Community (EAC) partner states are to get rid of the colonial boundary dilemma, a peace and security expert has said.
Dr Arthur Bainomugisha, a Makerere University don and director of Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE), said the current border disputes in the region arise because the EAC has not achieved the desired integration.
Bainomugisha made the remarks at a public dialogue in Kampala over the weekend, which was organized by the Uganda Action Network on Small Arms (UANSA).
The event also marked the end of the Global Week of Action against Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), which was organised by the EAC secretariat, in collaboration with the Eastern Africa Action Network on Small Arms(EAANSA) and the German International Development Agency (GIZ).
“Regional integration will address all these conflicts because time will come when border demarcations are meaningless,” Dr Bainomugisha said, citing a border dispute between Uganda and Kenya that almost took the two neighbors to war over the tiny Migingo Island.
The don called for deeper democratic governance, saying this would put in place constitutions that stipulate peaceful transfer of power which, in turn, circumvents situations of military coups and bloodletting conflicts.
“There should also be improved promotion of civil-military relations in Africa,” he told the East ast African News Agency (EANA) on the sidelines of the workshop.
Dr Bainomugisha called for an end to illegal arms, saying the perpetrators of the crimes always walk away unharmed, leaving up to ninety per cent of war victims, most of them being children and women, with shattered lives.
A Ugandan army officer, Lt. Col. Gordon Busingye, attributed the proliferation of fire arms to the moral degeneration in many societies in the region.
He was presenting a paper titled: ''Government action on armed violence'.
“Some parents and people don’t cooperate in providing information about illegal arms to security personnel in their neighbourhoods. This has led to increased gun violence,” Busingye told the participants, who included legislators, members of civil society organizations and the media.
Milton Muwuma, a Uganda member of Parliament, said drug abuse has been cited as one of the main causes of misuse of fire arms, calling on governments to control the vice.