Defence Cabinet Secretary Hon. Aden Duale has underscored the need to have a more peaceful, secure and integrated Eastern Africa region saying it is ideal for sustainable socio-economic development of the region.
The CS observed that the region is confronting transnational threats of terrorism, extremism and organized crimes which continue to destabilize the society and undermine the much-needed peace, security, and stability thus there’s a need for synergies and collaboration amongst Member States.
Hon. Duale made the remarks when he Chaired the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of Defence and Security of Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) during the culmination of a week-long Eastern Africa Standby Force Organs Policy Meeting in Nairobi.
He called for the establishment of a conducive environment that allows sufficient focus on the root cause of conflicts and promoting good governance.
“We need to prioritize the enhancement of our security capabilities as envisaged within the EASF framework. It is therefore incumbent on us to strengthen ties, foster collaboration and streamline our security architecture which is fundamental to success,” said the CS.
The meeting themed, ‘A Capability of Choice for Peace, Security and Integration in the Eastern Africa Region,’ brought together Ministers of Defence and Security from EASF Member States and their representatives from Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.
During the occasion, CS Duale handed over the Chairmanship of the Council of Ministers of EASF to the Minister of Defence from the Republic of Rwanda H.E Juvenal Marizamunda who takes over for the next one year.
Hon. Duale congratulated his successor and called upon the Member States to accord him support to enable EASF to realize its obligation.
“To the incoming Chairperson, we must take stock of the mutating global crises and their potential impact on our region so that we can explore appropriate measures to mitigate the associated challenges,” said the outgoing Chairperson.
The incoming Chairperson thanked his predecessor for his exemplary leadership saying he shall build on the firm foundation he established towards fostering regional peace, security and integration.
EASF Director Brigadier (Rtd) Paul Njema said the Force remains focused on implementing the recommendation of the Strategic Plan that envisions, among others, achieving full operational capability saying EASF is ready for deployment whenever required.
The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union on 17th January 2024 during the 1192nd meeting considered the simmering conflict between Ethiopia and Somalia.
The Council of Ministers unequivocally reaffirmed its strong commitment and support in all efforts aimed at preserving the unity, sovereignty, territory integrity and independence of all Member States in line with Article 4 of the African Union (AU) Constitutive Act and the Protocols Relating to the Establishment of Peace and Security especially on the conflict between Ethiopia and Somalia.
The Council also urged the two AU Member States to cease making utterances that may escalate the conflict further and implored external actors to abide by the Principle of Non-interference in the internal affairs of the conflict.
Ministers for Defence, the Chiefs of Defence Forces/Staff from Member States, including Kenya’s Gen Francis Ogolla, other senior officials from the security sector, members of the diplomatic corps and friends of EASF led by their Chairperson Colonel Jens Gunther Lindvig of Denmark were present.