The East African Community partner states’ Armed Forces have today launched a three (3) day Final Planning Conference for the 12th EAC Armed Forces Field Training Exercise (FTX) codenamed “Ushirikiano Imara – 2022” at Silver Springs Hotel, Bugolobi in Kampala. The exercise is in accordance with Article 2 of the East African Community Protocol on Co-operation in Defence Affairs and pursuant to the Defence Sector calendar of activities.
The conference was opened officially by the UPDF Chief of Production and Welfare, Maj Gen Sam Kiwanuka, representing the UPDF Joint Chief of Staff Maj Gen Leopold Kyanda.
Maj Gen Kiwanuka said the objective of the exercise is to coordinate the state of interoperability of EAC partner States among Armed Forces, Police, Prisons and Civilian components in responding to regional complex security challenges. He reiterated Uganda’s commitment towards the success of the Final Planning Conference and ultimately the Field Training Exercise that is scheduled to take in Jinja, Buikwe and Maguye districts from 27th May to 16th June 2022.
The Guest of Honour urged the delegates to think about the Integration of the East African region. “During the deliberations, I urge you to consider the vision of our East African Community leaders in relation to the final integration of the East African region as an opportunity to achieve sustainable peace and security in our communities,” said Maj Gen Kiwanuka.
The Chairperson of the conference Brig Gen Bernard Korir said the partner states Armed Forces have held three planning conferences starting with the Initial Planning Conference (IPC) from 19th -21st Oct 2021 in Jinja, the Main Planning Conference (MPC) from 23rd -25th Feb 2022 in Kampala and now Final Planning Conference (FPC) from 22nd -24th Mar 2022. The main purpose of the FPC is to finalize the planning process for the conduct of the 12th East African Community Armed Forces Field Training Exercise Ushirikiano Imara – 2022.
Brig Gen Korir underscored the importance of the exercise which he said is to promote co-operation among the Armed Forces of the East African Community. “We regard it (Field Training Exercise) very highly because it brings together different members of the Armed Forces from our countries and it promotes friendship. Together as one community, we have similar things that we can work on in bringing unity and peace within the region,” said Brig Gen Korir.
The Field Training Exercises are conducted every two years on rotational basis among the partner states.
The exercises have been conducted since 2005 under the themes of Peace Support Operations, Counter Terrorism, Counter Piracy and Disaster Management. Each of the member states presented their Special Ideas on each of these thematic areas.
The Final Planning Conference has attracted over 70 delegates from the East African Community Partner States; Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan Tanzania and Uganda.