By Henry Sekanjako
KAMPALA - Cabinet has approved the ratification of a defence agreement between Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya to ensure peace, stability and security of the partner states.
On February 20 this year, the heads of state and government of the three countries signed the mutual defence pact during the 4th Northern corridor implementation projects summit held in Kampala.
Addressing journalists at Uganda Media Center in Kampala, information and National guidance minister Rose Namayanja said cabinet had okayed the ratification of the agreement, saying the treaty would help encounter threats against regional security with immediate collective action by all partner states.
“In this case, threats to national security, including armed attacks against a partner state shall be considered threats to regional security,” said the minister.
She explained that the pact was in line with the constitution of the Republic of Uganda and other laws in force and would not necessitate any amendment of the laws.
Namayanja noted further that cabinet had directed the minister of defence to prepare and present the mutual defence pact to parliament for ratification.
“Cabinet has also authorized the minister of foreign affairs to sign, seal and deposit the instrument of ratification to the East African Community (EAC).”
According to the information minister, the action for the ratification of the pact by Uganda was in pursuant to decisions of heads of state and government at the tripartite summit held in Entebbe, Uganda on June 25 last year.
The pact is in compliance with the provisions of the memorandum of understanding on the fast-tracking of the East African integration, agreed by the tripartite states on October 28, 2013, providing for a defence pact by the end of January 2014.
Meanwhile, the minister told journalists that cabinet had approved principles for the Uganda National Health Laboratory Services (UNHLS) Bill 2014.
Through the ministry for health, she said, government wishes to establish an autonomous public institution by an Act of parliament called the National Health Laboratory Services with a mandate to coordinate all health related laboratories.
“Cabinet approved the establishment of this institution in order to reduce on referrals abroad due to limited laboratory capacity by Uganda.”
The laboratory will act as the overall authority on health laboratory investigations.
It is understood that cabinet had authorized the health ministry to issue drafting instructions to the first parliamentary counsel to prepare the bill.
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Cabinet approves defence pact