JINJA – The Minister of State for Defence in Charge Veteran Affairs Hon Lt Col (Rtd) Dr. Bright Rwamirama has said that the joint activities conducted under the East African Community (EAC) Cooperation in Defence Affairs such as Command Post Exercises are enhancers of the integration of the Community.
“As EAC Partner States, we need to walk the talk to further strengthen our integration so that we can realise its benefits,” he said while officiating at the closing ceremony of the 12th Edition of EAC CPX – 2019 in Jinja on Friday.
He noted that the EAC Partner States have similar security challenges that call for a joint approach to handle.
This, he said, can be achieved through, among others, joint training, joint operations and sharing of information.
The Minister added that the EAC Partner States’ Armed Forces have gone a step towards attaining interop alibility through the implementation of the Community’s Protocol in Defence Affairs in which the States agreed on the conduct of joint military trainings, joint operations, technical co-operation, visits and exchange of information.
He said joint trainings such as the CPX enhance the state of readiness of the Partner States in responding to complex security situations as well as anticipate threats and prepare for them accordingly.
The Minister said that despite the colonial boundaries drawn for the exploitation of Africans, East Africans remain the same people with the same destiny.
He commended the efforts and commitment of the Partner States in ensuring the successful conduct of EAC CPX 2019.
The Minister, however, urged the participants of the CPX to continue exercising the knowledge acquired from the joint training and added that he was positive that the participants were now better prepared to work together than before.
Speaking at the same function, the Chief of Defence Forces ( CDF) Gen David Muhoozi applauded the exemplary participation by Partner States Contingents, saying that grasping the professional way of jointly operating is a great step towards deploying together as a single robust Force in case need arises.
“Such exercises are not competitions but rather a joint learning process with the aim of attaining the skills to deploy together in future to ensure peace, security and stability in the region. Therefore, we are all winners,” he said, adding that the entry of South Sudan into the Community is an added advantage for the region.
“We welcome South Sudan that is participating in this exercise for the first time. This is a way to go in strengthening our capabilities as a region,” he said.
The Representative of the EAC Secretary-General Mr. Samson Abura said the regular conduct of joint activities under the EAC Protocol in Defence Affairs inspire other blocks in Africa.
He revealed that the just concluded CPX is a precursor for a Field Training Exercise due in Uganda in 2020.
The Exercise Director who is also the Deputy Commander Land Forces (D/CLF) Maj Gen Sam Kavuma said that the objectives of the exercise were among others to practice participants on duties and responsibilities of a Force Headquarter, manning operation rooms, joint planning, practice the EAC Standing Operation Procedures and use of the media.
He further said that CPX 2019 had four thematic areas: Peace Support Operations, counter-terrorism. Piracy, and disaster management.
The D/CLF said the exercise objectives were met.
The Function was attended by Ministers of Defence and Chiefs of Defence Staff from the Partner States or their representatives and other high ranking military, police and prisons officials.