By Collins Mwai
President Paul Kagame has called on intelligence and security officers from across the continent to work closely in cohesion in the face of security threats which could dent the continent’s progress.
President Kagame was addressing heads of intelligence and security services from African countries at the official opening of the 13th Conference of the Committee of Intelligence (CISSA).
The conference, under way in Kigali, attracted chiefs of intelligence services from 51 African countries to discuss key security concerns.
The President said that the increasingly connected world presents opportunities as well as threats which require collaboration to tackle them.
“No country can ensure its security without working closely with others. Today’s super connected world brings fresh opportunities but also new risks. Innovative technologies are increasingly accessible and affordable, equalising the playing field as never before. This is why increased collaboration is paramount, it will enable us to eliminate gaps that make us, as a continent, more vulnerable,” Kagame said.
Kagame noted that, unlike in the past, currently no countries or regions have been spared by global insecurity across the world which indicated the need for collaboration and partnership.
The state of affairs across the world, he said, called for close relations to find solutions to common threats and risks as no country or region is immune.
“For a long time, some parts of the world seemed more important than others and the lives of the people there, somehow more valuable. International responses generally reflected that unspoken hierarchy.
“But looking at the global state of affairs today, there is no longer any clear distinction between so-called strong and weak states.
“We are all affected, and, more importantly, everybody has an essential contribution to make in finding solutions. It all speaks to the complex interconnectedness of the world we find ourselves in,” he said.
This year’s conference is under the theme, “Countering the Growing Threat of Abuse of Universal Jurisdiction against Africa,” with participants examining how African countries have fallen victim to abuse of universal jurisdiction by a section of Western powers.
The case of Genocide
On the matter, Kagame said that politicising justice and abusing international law have often been used to keep Africa in a subordinate position.
“Accountability for crimes is a principle that the African Union endorses without ambiguity but politicising justice deployed more or less exclusively (on) one continent or pursued selectively for whatever reasons is not going to be the answer. It is more rightly seen, as a form of “lawfare”, where international law is abused, to keep Africa in a subordinate position,” the President said.
Giving Rwanda’s experience as victim to the abuse of international law, he said the country has had more than its fair share and did not expect it to stop soon.
“Rwanda like many other African countries has had more than its fair share and do not expect it to stop any time soon but neither will it ever be acceptable to us. What has been remarkable and deeply appreciated is the solidarity from Africa, not only in rhetoric, but also in actions,” he said.
Going forward in dealing with such threats, he said that countries ought to define interests and priorities, and continue to work together in unity to advance them.
“You can count on Rwanda to play our part,” the President pledged.
Abuse of Universal Jurisdiction against Africa featured prominently at the conference with participants terming it as an emerging challenge and threat.
Brig Gen Joseph Nzabamwita, the secretary general of the National Intelligence and Security Service, said some powers were ‘hiding behind’ international law to arrest senior African government officials.
He said Rwanda has been victim to this especially beginning 2006 when 40 former and currently officials were indicted by Spanish and French judges. He said this targeting continues to threaten the sovereignty of African countries.
The forum will also discuss current and emerging threats as well as ways to have early warning system by disseminating and sharing information.