By our reporter
Uganda is hosting 13 Eastern Africa countries under the umbrella of African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC) Volunteer Nations at the Uganda Rapid Development Capability Centre (URDCC) Jinja. Countries that form up ACIRC include Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Egypt, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
The military exercise which will run up to 4th Sept 2018 was officially opened on Thursday, 30th August 2018 by the Deputy Chief of Defence Forces Lt Gen Wilson Mbasu Mbadi who represented the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen David Muhoozi.
In his remarks Lt Gen Mbadi outlined the many factors and incidents which have driven African states preferring to solve their own problems and reduce the influence of external actors in continental affairs.
“The Western states-initiated withdrawal from African conflict management after the disasters in Somalia and Rwanda, made the imperative of African solutions for African problems even stronger,” he said.
The Deputy CDF also noted that it was hoped that the AU would be at the vanguard of finding solutions to the problems being raised. According to facts available, when the conflict in Côte d’Ivoire escalated after the second round of the presidential elections of November 2010, it was thought that the AU would step in to diffuse the situation. The Mali situation became even worse; not even deserving any further mentioning. In all these and other ugly situations, Africa has not exhibited any ability to defend itself.
The Exercise Utulivu Africa IV is as a result of the AU Assembly, in its decision(Assembly/AU/Dec.489 (XXI)when it decided,in principle, to immediately establish, as a transitional arrangement and pending the full operationalization of the Africa Standby Force (ASF) and its Rapid Development Capability.
Therefore, the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC),was mandated to provide the AU with a flexible and robust force, made up of military capabilities, force enablers and multipliers, equipment and resources. These were to be voluntarily provided by Member States on the basis of their willingness and capabilities. They were meant to be deployed very rapidly to, effectively respond to emergency situations, within the framework of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA).
The exercise Director from Uganda Maj General Mark NakibusLakara who is also the Commandant of The Uganda Rapid Development Capability Centre URDCC informed the audience that Utulivu Africa IV 20I8 is the fourth CPX conducted by the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC) whose purpose is to prepare ACIRC Forces for future intervention operations in line with Article 4 (h) and 4 (J) of the African Union Constitutive Act. This exercise was preceded by Utulivu Africa I CPX 2014 held in the United Republic of Tanzania, Field Training Exercise (FTX) AMANI AFRICA II 2015 in the Republic of South Africa where ACIRC Volunteer Nations showed a very big presence, Utulivu Africa II CPX 2016 held in the Republic of Angola and Utulivu Africa III 2017 CPX held in Kigali, in the Republic of Rwanda.
The Exercise Director announced the theme of this exercise as “African Solutions to African Problems” which denotes self-sustainability.
Whereas the aim is to maintain and enhance the ACIRC Operational readiness for AU intervention operations. Pursuant to the foregoing aim, the overall exercise objectives are:
- Maintain and enhance ACIRC Operational Readiness.
- Validate AU Intervention Doctrine.
- Evaluate ACIRC sustainment and COE concept.
- Develop cooperation and interoperability in joint planning and execution.
- Confirm planning skills of ACIRC Commanders and staff officers at operational and tactical levels.
- Practice the planning and conduct of intervention operations at operational and tactical levels.
- Train in accordance with AU/ASF standards.
- Harmonization of ACIRC activities with ASF Framework.
- Enhancing ACIRC VNs military relations.
- Interrogate Lessons Learned from previous exercises.
African Union Commission was represented by Mr Sivuyille Bam who in his speech congratulated the AU commission for steadily developing a force capable to rapidly deploy at a time of need as AU or UN put together the necessary operational and logistical demands to deploy. He wished the participants well and thanked Uganda for always excelling whenever such initiatives are brought up.
African Union also deployed Ms Lydia Wanyoto as a special Envoy to Utulivu Africa IV Command Post Exercise. Others in leadership is Brig James Ruhesi from Uganda as the Force Commander, Brig AN Mbonye, of the United republic of Tanzania is the Deputy Exercise Director, Brig X Mankayi is the exercise High Control, Brig Sam Kiwanuka from Uganda is the Chief Mentor, whereas Brig Fransisco Marcos from the Republic of Angola is the Chief of Training.