, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 7 – Security agencies in the larger East African region should upgrade their alertness to ensure that a security threat of the nature of the 1998 August twin bombing of Nairobi and Dar-es-salaam do not occur again, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has said.
Mr Musyoka who spoke on the anniversary of the August bomb blast said conflict and wars as well as terrorism acts were a drawback to development.
He said Kenya in particular was working hard to ensure that such security threats are curbed.
Speaking during the official opening of the meeting of the Council of Ministers of Defence and Security of Eastern Africa Region held at the Panari hotel on Friday, Nairobi, Mr Musyoka praised Uganda and Burundi for contributing to African Mission in Somalia (Amisom).
The meeting brings together ministers and heads of defence from 13 members from Eastern, Central and Indian Ocean African countries to discuss security matters from the region.
The Vice President said recurrent wars and conflicts in many parts of Africa have become the major stumbling block to the economic advancement of the continent.
Mr Musyoka said peace and security was paramount for development and called for ways and means of containing conflicts in the continent.
“The likelihood of most African countries attaining the United Nations Millennium Development Goals by the year 2015 and winning the war against poverty will sadly remain a remote dream in the absence of an enduring and sustainable atmosphere of peace and security,’’ said Mr Musyoka.
He added that the challenge of ensuring peace was a matter of concern not only in Eastern Africa region but also to the African continent as whole.
“Indeed there is growing concern that long-running as well as emergent conflicts in Africa have brought immense suffering to our people,’’ he said.
The Vice President said it was high time for African leaders to come out forcefully in the fight against acts of lawlessness in the continent.
“ In the past, Africa has relied heavily on the international community to intervene in her conflicts but there is now an emerging paradigm shift that demands of the continent to find home grown solutions to her problems,’’ said Mr Musyoka.
He noted that the establishment of regional Standby Brigades to form the African Standby Force was part of Africa’s effort to create structures to deal with Africa security problems in a timely and efficient manner.
“ The challenge now remains with the newly created independent Coordinating Mechanism to complete the operationalisation of the Eastern Africa Standby Brigade by the year 2010 as per the roadmap of the African Standby Force,’’ he said.
Acting Director of East Africa Standby Brigade Coordination Mechanism Col. (Rtd) Peter Marwa said a maritime study has been commissioned to utilize the naval resources in the fight against piracy in the region.
The Director in charge of defence of the Republic of the Union of Comoros Mr Mohammed urged the member states to sacrifice in order to contribute to the success of the exercise by sponsoring the troops with resources, equipment and personnel.
Present were Defence Minister Yusuf Hajji, Assistant Minister General (Rtd) Joseph Nkaiserry, Chief of General Staff Jeremiah Kianga and members of the diplomatic corps.