Efforts Towards Conflict Prevention In The Eastern African Region. The Role Of Regional Economic Communities And Regional Mechanism
Mumma, C A
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Regional conflicts continue to constitute threats t o states and communities within the Eastern African Region. These include border attacks by arm ed groups and communities straddling the borders, smuggling, motor vehicle thefts, drug traf ficking, flows of small arms, landmines, and in recent time’s threats of terror networks (ICGLR, 20 06). The areas along borders make it ideal for the activities to flourish. Obstacles (terrain, for ests, deserts) to accessibility and the absence of penetrative transport and communication channels ma ke the situation even worse. Responses to these threats have been state based and tended to g enerate security dilemmas and complexities in this region. Africa’s Regional Economic and Regional Mechanisms, working with the AU have made substantial strides in assuming primary responsibil ity to curb these security problems thus, maintaining peace and security in the region (Berma n, E. &Sams, K., 2000). The best known examples of this in the East African Region are: In tergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), East African Community (EAC) and the Intern ational Conference of Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Eastern African Standby Forc e (EASF), which serves as a regional mechanism. In this paper, Regional Economic Communities (RECS) and Sub Regional Organizations will be interchangeably. The paper is divided into six part s: The introduction, followed by an outline of the nature of conflicts in the Eastern African Regi on. The next section examines conflict prevention and the importance of sub regional organ izations in conflict prevention. The paper then focuses on an examination of the existing sub regional organizations in the area and their efforts in conflict prevention, their success, chal lenges and limitations. The final session introduces EASF, an initiative by the Africa Union and what its existence in the region means for conflict prevention. The paper closes with some con clusions and ways of enhancing the role of these RECS and Regional Mechanisms (RMs) to become more effective in conflict prevention.