Kenya, Uganda strengthen defence ties

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Senior officers from the Kenyan and Ugandan defence forces met in Nairobi this week to further cement “engagement and collaboration as partners seeking sustainable security solutions”.

The two-day joint defence committee (JDC) meeting follows last year’s signing of a defence co-operation agreement.

The meeting was attended by officers from Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF). It was co-chaired by Brigadier Richard Mwanzia, Chief Strategic Plans and Policy (SP&P) and his Ugandan counterpart Brigadier General Joseph Balikudembe.

Mwanzia stressed the importance of a robust regional security mechanism to co-ordinate and strengthen the partnership between the neighbouring militaries.

Balikudembe, thanked the Kenyan delegation for espousing a cordial relationship with Uganda, adding working together strengthened an existing good relationship between the two countries. On the bilateral defence co-operation agreement he recognised it as the legal instrument binding the nations to co-operate and address common strategic security interests.

During the deliberations, consideration was given to alleviate food insecurity in shared border areas. Climate change has rendered communities “perennially food insecure and limited sources of livelihood” according to a KDF statement. The resource scarcity forced some to migrate in search of pasture and water.

The gathering deliberated on establishing social economic programmes aimed at integrating border communities.

“The meeting underscored continued co-operation increases understanding as to how both Uganda and Kenya may use military forces in crisis and peacetime to deliver stability and prosperity as well as shape a defence culture.

Also present were Brigadier General Michael Nyarwa, Colonel David Lumumba from UPDF and their KDF counterparts Chief of Operations Brigadier Seif Rashid; Chief of Research, Doctrine, Training and Evaluation (RD & TE) Brigadier Stephen Huria and others.