Musanze, 21 October 2011
President Kagame today said that Africans must take ownership of the continents challenges. Speaking at the launch of the East African Community Command Post Exercise code-named Ushirikiano Imara at the Rwanda Military Academy in Nyakinama, in Northern Rwanda, President Kagame said;
“During decades of violent conflict in Africa, we learnt a key lesson. While partnership with the international community is important, Africans have to find lasting solutions to our own problems of peace and security and take development matters in our hands.”
President Kagame noted that the military exercise is evidence of the resolve of East African countries to jointly address the security threats that affect people and threaten to derail national and regional development.
President Kagame pointed out that while integration is normally understood to be about enhanced cooperation in business, customs and taxes, cooperation in the area of security is a key element of integration because there is need to safeguard the gains accruing from economic cooperation.
“It is in view of this that our countries agreed on defence collaboration in the areas of military training, joint operations, technical cooperation, reciprocal visits and information exchange for mutual benefit. Rwanda fully supports this spirit of cooperation – this is why we are happy to host this Command Post Exercise, Ushirikiano Imara and the subsequent Field Training Exercise that is scheduled for 2012”.
President Kagame urged participants in the exercise to undertake the drills with dedication and commitment in order to attain the objectives of the exercise, as well as those of future operations.
The objective of this exercise by East African Community member states’ armed forces is to enhance interoperability and to foster cooperation between East African Community Armed Forces and other non-military agencies.
Present at the ceremony were the Burundi Minister in Charge of East African Affairs, Hafsa Mossi, Burundi Minister of National Police, Alain Guillaume Bunyoni, and Major General Godefroid Niyombare, the Burundi Chief of Defense Staff. Joseph Nkaissery, Assistant Minister of State for Defence, General JW Karangi, Chief of Defense Forces and Major General F. K. Nthenge, the Asistant Chief of Defense Forces represented the Republic of Kenya. Tanzania was represented by Major General S.M. Kijuu, Commander Land Forces TPDF, while Uganda was represented by Dr. Crispus Kiyonga, Minister of Defence and General Aronda Nyakayirima, Chief of Defense Forces.
At the end of the opening ceremony, the Rwanda and Uganda Ministers of Defense signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in the area of security.
Listen to full speech: http://www.paulkagame.tv/podcast/?p=episode&name=2011-10-21_kagame.mp3