Uganda contingent has ended two weeks of EAC field training exercise (ftx) Ushirikiano Imara 2018 in Tanga, Tanzania.
The annual East African Community (EAC) field training rotational exercise involved countries like Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, S/Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
The exercise was aimed at achieving one of the EAC’s objectives of maintaining a well-trained and a regularly exercised force, that is ready to jointly conduct peace keeping missions in the East African Region and beyond in a most effective way possible and within the framework of Article 2 of the EAC protocol on cooperation in defence affairs.
“It is important for you as Military leaders to constantly remind yourselves of your role as the custodians of Peace, Security, and Political Stability that our region continues to enjoy firmly entrenched in the noble efforts and sacrifices” said Hon Dr. Hussein Mwinyi Tanzania Minister of Defence and National Service while presiding over the closing ceremony of East African Community Field Training exercise EAC FTX 2018 today in Mligano village, Muheza District, Tanga Region Tanzania.
Hon Dr. Hussein Mwinyi thanked EAC partner states and the EAC secretariat for their efforts in facilitating the exercise. “This exercise has indeed been successful and I would like to commend all of you for your participation” said Hon Dr Mwinyi.
Mwinyi said EAC continues to set a very good example to other regions in terms of cohesion and the way it addresses problems.
“The way we address peace and security issues in our region and sometimes beyond our region is good evidence that our region is moving in line with the original objectives that were set for the establishment of EAC. We need to constantly remind ourselves of this important fact so as to stay on course,” said Mwinyi.
Acknowledging Tanzania’s opportunity of hosting this years’ exercise, Mwinyi said,” I want to assure you that we hold this military cooperation between the EAC member states in high esteem and that it was a privilege to host this important exercise. This is a clear testimony of the strong cooperation between our armed forces and I sincerely hope that this spirit of cooperation will continue to flourish for our mutual benefit.”
Mwinyi noted that having regular exercises with realism that are well stimulated helps the participants to contemporary assimilate situations as actual as possible and subsequently instill courage and confidence to face worse situations.
He advised EAC participating states to go and facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skills with as many people as possible and name the benefits of USHIRIKIANO IMARA 2018 lasting.
The concluded EAC FTX is the eleventh Field Training Exercise to be conducted by EAC Partner States since 2005.
It was codenamed Ushirikiano Imara since 2011 and is held on rotational basis among EAC Partner States.
The multinational and multidimensional exercise in Tanga Tanzania, involved over 1600 participants including the Military, Police and civilian components drawn from East African Community partner states including Burundi,Kenya,Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
Uganda last hosted the 9th FTX Codenamed Natural Fire 10 (NF10) in Kitgum, Northern Uganda in October 2009 and will host the 12th EAC FTX in 2020.
Uganda’s Minister of State for Defence in charge of Veteran Affairs Bright K Rwamirama thanked the Government and people of Tanzania for their enduring brotherly and friendly culture and commended the EAC Secretariat for the arrangements put in place to ensuring a successful conclusion of the exercise.
“Our Cooperation in Defence Affairs is hinged on the four pillars namely; Military Training, Joint Operations, Techinical Cooperation and Exchange of Knowledge all of which provide necessary tools for enhancement of the enduring EAC spirit of Cooperation,” said Rwamirama.
He further noted that the aim of the exercise which were to jointly train and exercise the military, the police and civilian components on joint planning and conduct of Operations necessary to resolve arising crisis, had been achieved.
“EAC FTXs are the means by which the regional states will always ensure compatibility and readiness to solve their own problems without resorting to external help.
At the end of each exercise we are able to assess our capacity to respond to crisis.
This constant and enduring interaction allows us to develop the means to participate in the nature of threats to our security and their levels as well as the early warning systems and mechanisms meant to trigger the appropriate responses to crisis,” he added.
He further underscored the contemporary security landscape that has changed drastically, and the multitude of security threats which are manmade disasters, food scarcity, famine, terrorism cybercrime.
The State minister said such security threats call for adaptation to new methods as well as refining the traditional methods. This he said is possible through cooperation, and joint Field Training Exercises.
The participants were able to exercise Counter Terrorism (CT),Counter Piracy (CP),Disaster Management (DM) and Peace Support Operations (PSO) tasks. The Uganda contingent included 137 UPDF personnel, 37 UPF and 17 civilians.
Present at the closing ceremony were the UPDF Chief of Defence Forces, Gen David Muhoozi and Maj Gen Stephen Kashaka, the Defence Advisor at the Uganda Hig Commission in Tanzania among others.