‘We must guarantee the Security and Stability of Africa’, Defense Minister Kiyonga advises
May 19, 2013, Jinja, Uganda
The Minister of Defence Dr. Crispus Kiyonga has described the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) Field Training Exercise2013, code named “Mashariki Salaam” as a very important step on the long road to guarantee the securityand stability of the African people.
Presiding over the flag off of the Exercise currently underway in Jinja, the Minister said that Africa still has some distance to walk towards establishing a regional force to bank on in case of need.
“We still have scattered conflicts and we have peacekeeping missions in some areas. In this we still have external actors, some have come without invitation, but there have been some successes with those we have worked closely”, the Minister remarked.
Dr.Kiyongo also said that the prevalence of lack of peace is a reminder that Africa must work harder to guarantee her stability and sovereignty, citing the case of Somalia, a country he said, is “back as an equal partner in peace efforts to build the continent”.
Dr. Kiyonga also called for mechanisms to sustain the political will derived from the mission of the African Union.
“This mission must be sustained; and we continue to count on the AU to keep checking on us to remind us of the duty to protect our countries”, Kiyonga remarked.
Speaking at the same function, the UPDF Chief of Defence Forces Gen Aronda Nyakayirima who is the Exercise conducting officers spoke of Uganda’s delight at hosting this function. Aronda said Africa is proud to celebrate her fundamental achievements especially given that these coincide with the 50 years of the AU. “Africa with her great economic wealth, declining levels of poverty, is yet another cause for celebration when our leaders gather to mark the 50 years. As we celebrate our achievements, we reflect on the challenge we face”, citing the Coup in Central African Republic and the conflict raging on in Mali and Eastern DRC. “As Eastern African Standby Forces gather, it becomes so timely to reflect both on the achievements and challenges to forge a way forward. Africa is an emerging continent of the 21stcentury and we must guarantee her security”, Aronda remarked.
Representing the Kenyan Defense Minister, the Permament Secretary of the Kenyan Defence Ministry, Ambassador Nancy Kirui described Mashariki Salam 2013 as an instrument for the preservation and perpetuation of regional peace.
In his remarks, the Exercise Director Brig Nakibus Lakara had emphasized the ability to train and test EASF’s capability and force readiness by 2015, based on the African Union Road Map.
Present at the flag off Ceremony were the Minister of Defence-from Comoros Hon. Madi Bolero, officials and representatives from the 10 member States of the Eastern Africa Stand by Force. The Republic of South Sudan is also participatingas Exercise as observers.
For more information:
Spokesman for UDPF, Ministry of Defence, Republic of Uganda