The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon Jacob Oulanyah has challenged regional leaders to remain focused on the primary goals for the creation of regional security organs and desist from creating additional non related mandates to the organs, lest they lose their effectiveness.
Oulanyah was addressing security officials from the ten Eastern Africa Standby Force partner states and the Ugandan public present to mark the EASF 6th Open Day that was hosted by Uganda at Hotel Africana in Kampala over the weekend.
The deputy speaker noted that EASF is a right organ to deal with matters of conflict in the region considering its current straight-forward mission of maintaining and sustaining a fully operational and multidimensional integrated standby force ready to respond to emerging crises.
He noted that whereas other organs like IGAD are also playing important roles in the region, their mandates are sometimes too vast, handling multiple roles that may lead to delayed interventions in times of conflict.
Uganda’s Chief of Defence Forces Gen David Muhoozi, who was the host of the day reiterated Uganda’s commitment to the EASF goals, stressing that integration, especially in the field of security, is critical in ensuring a stable environment that can foster socio economic transformation in the region.
As part of the events of the Open Day, the Minister of State for Defence Charles Engola Okello, flagged off a peace walk in which participants were the UPDF top leadership including Gen David Muhoozi, Foreign Affairs Secretary (Minister) of Seychelles, EASF top leadership, and lecturers and students from Kampala International University and Uganda Christian University. They marched with the UPDF brass band from Railways headquarters to Hotel Africana from where they had presentations, discussions and debates on matters of security in the region.
The EASF Open day is aimed at popularizing the institution in the partner states by among others, engaging decision makers, academics, journalists, civil society and students.
The Open Day is conducted on an annual rotational basis among partner states and this year Uganda’s hosted it under the theme: ‘Towards a Peaceful and Stable Eastern Africa’.