Internal security trends within East Africa worrisome

Tuesday September 11 2018

Briefly put, “internal security” means the prevailing of a state of law and order in a nation-state. Generally, this entails keeping peace within the borders of a sovereign state or self-governing territory.

Usually, this is achieved by upholding national laws and other regulatory frameworks – always applying them diligently but justly in surmounting any and all threats, real and imagined, to internal/national security. To that end, responsibility for internal security lies upon the regular police, paramilitary forces and – only in exceptional circumstances – the military.

But, in the rapidly-changing trends and circumstances that point to the world becoming a global village, internally-troubled nations sometimes find themselves being aided in securing internal peace by multilateral institutions like the United Nations.

Member-nations of the East African Community (EAC) had managed to avoid such peacekeeping missions until Southern Sudan clambered aboard the regional economic bloc as its sixth member in April 2016. Embroiled in internecine political conflict soon after independence from the Greater Sudan on July 9, 2011, South Sudan perforce welcomed a UN Mission (UNMISS) just as soon.

But, while the other five EAC nations have not tumbled that far down the road to internal conflicts warranting external peacekeeping missions, they nonetheless are plagued by seemingly-endless, accelerating breaches of law that endanger internal security and peace.

Among the threats to internal security and peace are police brutality; kidnappings; mysterious/unsolved murders, maiming and disappearances; curtailed or total denial of natural and constitutional human rights; clampdowns on press freedoms and rights; election riggings; grand corruption – and a gazillion other incidents of malfeasance and misfeasance.

All these are the order of the day in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania – to say nothing of South Sudan.

Indeed, this borders on the alarming – and the powers-that-be must restore internal security and peace within the EAC region sooner than later.