Uganda Peoples’ Defence Force (UPDF) is among five (5) East African Community Armed Forces that are participating in this year’s two(2) weeks Field Training Exercise dubbed Ushirikiano Imara 11 2018 in Mlingano Muheza, Tanga region Tanzania.
Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda are the only participating EAC member states for this year’s EAC FTX 11 2018 in Tanzania.
The EAC FTX was officially flagged off and opened by Tanzania Minister of Defence and National service Hussein Mwinyi in Tanga Tanzania.
Officiating the flagging and opening ceremony, Hussein Mwinyi said Tanzania Republic is grateful for the trust EAC member states vested in them to host the regional rotational exercise.
Dr Mwinyi also appreciated participating countries upon honoring their participation and support towards making the exercise possible.
“This is a vivid testimony that you have attached considerable importance towards endeavoring East African integration,” said Mwinyi.
Mwinyi further remarked that by ratifying various protocols, committing resources and harmonizing actions, East African countries have managed to achieve a lot together.
“The unwavering resolve by our governments to ensuring that community grows even stronger has driven us to committing the much needed resources into the exercise,” said Mwinyi.
He also noted that joint EAC exercises enable participants to share knowledge and skills on matters pertaining to defence and security in the region and therefore increase individuals’ ability to discharge their responsibilities.
“current security challenges facing one partner state are almost the same facing the other EAC states and in some cases they are hatched from the same source given the geographical settings therein,” Mwinyi noted.
This year’s (2018) EAC FTX is the eleventh in series and therefore accumulated lessons learnt from previous exercises will automatically feature in the exercise focusing mainly on effective measures required to prevent and speedily respond to security situations in the region.
Participants have been drawn from a wide range of institutions including the Military, Police service, Prisons services, Immigration, Intelligence services, Counter Terrorism, Ministries of Health, Environment and disaster management, Humanitarian agencies (Red Cross).
“This is evidence that you have adopted a very contemporary and realistic perception of security, for today’s security challenges,” Mwinyi said.
Rear Admiral Mutayoba Makezo, the Exercise Director remarked that the exercise commenced with a four days Clinic exercise to prepare the 1357 participants taking part in the exercise in Tanga Tanzania.
Uganda is represented by 217 participants that include 163 UPDF, 35 UPF, 17 Civilian personnel and 02 UPS.
Representing UPDF’s CDF Gen David Muhoozi at the opening ceremony, Deputy Chief of Defence Forces Lt Gen Wilson Mbadi Mbusa commended EAC Sectoral Council on cooperation on Defence and the partnering States for implementing the provisions of the EAC protocol on Peace and Security.
Mbadi also noted that the aim of the exercise is to jointly train and exercise participants on joint planning and conduct of operations necessary to resolve arising crisis in the region.
He stressed that the joint annual rotational exercise is aimed at inoperability and testing the capabilities of predeployments of EAC forces during Peace keeping and enforcement missions aimed at combating complex security challenges in the region.
The D/CDF said Uganda is to host next year’s EAC-CPX 2019 and EAC-FTX 2020.
The Dean of Defence Liaison Officers at the EAC Secretariat in Arusha Tanzania Brig Katsigazi Tumusiime while representing the Secretary General of the East Africa Community Ambassador Liberat Mfumukeko said the exercise objective is to enhance mutual understanding on how to manage challenges that may arise in East Africa Region leading to the ability of the EAC partner states, Defence Forces and other key stakeholders to work together in an operational theater.
“We need unity, peace, stability and strength to defend our common interests as East Africans. This will in effect provide a conducive and attractive environment for investment, development and prosperity in the Region,” Katsigazi said.
“While Partnership with the International Community is important, Africans and more so East Africans have to find lasting solutions to own problems. To this effect, the EAC cooperation in Defence, offers such a great scope and prospects.”
The Exercise is designed based on the concept of Peace support Operations, Counter Terrorism, Counter Piracy and Disaster Management.
Among expected key objectives of the exercise is manning of the integrated mission HQ, interoperability in joint campaign planning and application of the EAC SOPs inter alia.
FTX is also meant to practice mission HQ, combined joint task force(CJTF) and contingents in planning and developing strategies and conduct activities necessary to resolve a crisis through chapter 6,7 and 8 of the UN charter.
FTX is also aimed at practicing EAC partner states armed forces and other key stake holders on planning and conduct of operations in an integrated mission, in order to improve capabilities for combating joint complex security threats within the region and beyond.
Present at the Official opening was Burundi Minister of Defence Emanuel Ntahomvukiye, Deputy Head of Mission, Dr Alice Karekyezi, Exercise Director Rear Admiral Richard Mutayoba Makoze, TPDF CDF Gen Venance Salvatory Mabeyo, Kenya Principal for Defence Saitoti Torome, Head of Mission Ambassador Peter Allen Kallaghe, Defence Liason Officers at the East Africa Community Headquarters and Members of the Defence Forces Contigent of the EAC Partner states.