By Spy Uganda
Kampala: The first-ever Joint Committee between Kenya and Uganda on Cooperation in Defence, Security and Implementation was held on Wednesday 26 October 2022 at Skyz Hotel, Naguru.
This followed the execution of the Kenya-Uganda Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) on 06 April 2022 and the subsequent signing of the Implementing Agreement (IA).
The Commander of the 3rd Infantry Division Brig Gen Joseph Balikudembe who presided over the meeting welcomed the Kenyan delegation to Uganda.
“I take cognizance of the Memorandum of Understanding between the two great States that was signed in 2006 and expired after the lapse of 10 years in the year 2016. Since then, the two countries have been only undertaking cooperation under the East African Community Protocol on Cooperation in Defense Affairs and the execution of this Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) was a step in the right direction as far as expanding collaboration in Security and defence matters is concerned”, Gen Balikuddembe said.
The purpose of the meeting was for the members to get to know one another as members of the bilateral Defence and Security committee; peruse through and familiarize themselves with the Defence Cooperation Agreement and implementation arrangements for each to know their role.
Furthermore, the purpose was to review the 21 areas of Cooperation laid out in the DCA with the aim to cluster them into high-priority and low-priority.
Brig Gen Balikudembe recognized and appreciated the vibrant cooperation that the two States have enjoyed over the years including the provision of Military escorts to personnel and hardware while in transit by road and rail, as well as the continuous exchange visits of personnel including students and directing staff in our Military colleges.
“As we may all be aware Bilateral Defence Cooperation Agreements (DCA) are now the most common form of Institutionalized Defence Cooperation. The Defence agreement drawn by Uganda and Kenya is expressed in legally binding terms where the Government of Uganda cooperates with the Republic of Kenya to address our common strategic interests” Brig Gen Balikudembe reiterated.
The team also discussed the major threats that affect the two Countries specifically looking at terrorism, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, and cattle rustling among other security concerns.
The Joint Defence Committee will also regularly report its findings and proposals to the line Ministries of the respective Countries.
The Kenyan representative and head of the delegation, Brig Gen Seif Salim Rashid in his remarks said, it is important that the two countries enhance this cooperation while directing the same to the new challenges facing the region; good examples being countering asymmetric threats facing them, matters of cyber security, environmental and food security, the exploitation of maritime opportunities and capabilities under the blue economy concept as well as human and drug trafficking.
This cooperation increases understanding as to how both Uganda and Kenya may use military forces both in crisis and at peacetime and provides insight into the shaping of defence culture.
The meeting was attended by the Brigade Commander Marine, Brig Gen Micheal Nyarwa, Military Assistant to CDF Brig Gen Irumba Omero Tingira, Director Training Brig Gen Fred Twinamatsiko, Director Strategic Intelligence Col David R Lumumba. The Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF) Officers included Brig Gen Richard Wambua Mwanzia, Brig Gen Stephen Maina Huria and Lt Col Lillian Ayuma Shigoli.