President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday said Africa lacked the potential to deal with insecurity or the emerging security issues such as terrorism, hitech and cyber-crimes without countries cooperating with one another.
Addressing chiefs of police from 13 Eastern Africa countries at Whitesands Beach Resort in Mombasa Kenya, President Kenyatta said terrorism was incompatible with the values and aspirations of Africa resolved to make the most of its opportunities.
“The threat, as we have so painfully learned in recent years, is not confined to any one country or region,” he told the participants saying terrorists would certainly harm anybody who did not share their dark view of the world.
“We have a common interest and in working together to defeat the terrorists so that our people would enjoy security and prosperity in whatever they do for their livelihood,” he said.
The President told the security chiefs that the people under them demanded nothing less than an end to terrorism and other spectacular crimes that hinder the continent’s advance.
He explained that the fight against insecurity was a process not an event saying it was a fight that must be won at all cost.
“Already, the signs are very encouraging – our standing cooperation in our common life and in our trade; our common interest in good governance, in security and in education – all these stand us in strengthen us for the fight we must wage,” he said.
Apart from challenging regional police chiefs, President Kenyatta told them whatever the strategies and resolutions reached from the meetings they should be implemented.
“Whatever is reached here in terms of strategies or resolutions they must be implemented and there must be mechanisms for follow ups to know which countries have done so,” he said
Due to the East African Community Heads of states regular meetings over common interests, the President said this had reduced the transportation of cargo from the Port of Mombasa to Kigali in Rwanda from one month to only seven days.
He said if the regional police bosses extended the same in their work they would consolidate their efforts in combating terrorism and other crimes.
According to him the war against crime would be realised faster if police forces in the East African region worked in solidarity and mustered self-belief.
“It is also in our best interest to tighten our collaboration in intelligence gathering, and in the execution of the programmes that we agree together,” President Kenyatta said.
Nothing that in the last five years the region has seen a rise in terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering and crimes against the environment, President Kenyatta said efforts must be scaled up to defeat the vices.
He singled out the upsurge in illicit trade in wildlife products – especially ivory and rhino horns – as a crime that should be stopped immediately as it directly threatened the livelihoods of communities that benefit from wildlife.
“Our region has been identified as a major and growing centre for this callous commerce – between January and October 2013 alone, over ten tonnes of ivory were intercepted in Mombasa,” he observed.
He said the illicit trade in wildlife products hampered the region’s collective security as it fed into terrorism, adding that it also harmed the region’s reputation, standing and trade with the world.
“The prospect should worry us more than it does. International terrorism threatens our societies: in choosing violence over dialogue, terrorists reject the basic premise of any democratic nation; in choosing spectacular, murderous violence, terrorists reject the respect for life shared by African societies across the continent,” he said.
In calling for joint efforts against terrorists, the President said their threat is not confined to any one country or region but harms all those who do not share their dark view of the world.
The President emphasized that the region has a common interest in working together to defeat terrorists.
“Our people demand nothing less than an end to this evil, and the less spectacular crimes that hinder our continent’s advance,” he said.
On its part, President Kenyatta said Kenya has long been aware of the need to work together with its neighbours.
“That is why we have joined with friends and partners in AMISOM to bring peace to Somalia and to shut out those who would do all of us harm,” he said.
He called for harmonisation of laws and regulations in the region, adding that the region’s unity and solidarity are its sharpest weapons in the fight against terrorism.
The President said the region should also learn from the experience of other nations that have face and defeated terrorism.
He pledged Kenya’s support to the EAPCCO’s regional operations and institutional reforms necessary to make the organisation more effective in combating crime.
“Will do all we can to secure the most modern equipment and training for those charged with protecting our common life,” the President said.
Speaking at the occasion, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku emphasized the need for the EAPCCO member countries to work together in fighting terrorism.
Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo –who took over the chairmanship of EAPCCO – disclosed that there will be a follow up to the meeting to fast-track implementation of the resolution passed at EAPCCO annual General meeting.