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Kenya elected to take charge of regional war against illicit small arms trade

Kenya has been handed the lead role in fighting small arms and light weapons within the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa.

The country takes over the chairmanship of the Regional Centre on Small Arms and Light Weapons (RECSA) following a unanimous endorsement from the representatives of the organization’s 15 member states.

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According to Interior Principal Secretary Dr. Raymond Omollo, the new role in the organization effectively expands the country’s scope of responsibilities in the efforts to stop illicit arms trade and foster sustainable peace and security in the region.

“Kenya pledges unconditional support and commitment to this cause, and I am certain that the role that the member states have assigned us today will make us even more aggressive in against this menace,” the PS stated when he represented Kenya during a meeting of the Council of Ministers (CoM) in Kinshasa, DR Congo.

The PS relayed Kenya’s readiness to advance RECSA’s agenda, key among them ending violent conflicts, terrorism, organized crimes and humanitarian crises fed and aggravated by small arms and light weapons.

He further highlighted a series of priorities the government has lined up to deliver on the new role, with a prime focus on participative leadership and higher levels of mutual support towards reducing the accessibility and availability of illicit arms.

“We will strive to be a true partner, who will not only lead by example but also foster an environment of collaboration, growth, and collective success,” Omollo said.

He also noted that the country is planning to promote innovative approaches to address the root causes of armed violence, including socioeconomic disparities, poverty, and inequality, which have aggravated humanitarian crises in the region.

In its proposals, Kenya will seek to leverage the power of sharing of resources and expertise to step up disarmament operations and implement innovative security solutions tailored to community needs.

“We believe that in a holistic approach, encompassing disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration efforts, as well as robust community-based initiatives. We intend to enhance coordination, regional organizations, and international partners to bolster our collective efforts to improve information-sharing and detect, prevent, and respond to the illicit trade,” PS Omollo said

Kenya has been deputizing the DR Congo as the chair of the Council of Ministers (CoM), the supreme organ that provides RECSA with the necessary policy guidance.

The Council is comprised of Ministers responsible for Internal Security in the member states. Among Kenya’s first assignments is to push for the elevation of RECSA’s influence on the continental scale in peace and security initiatives.

The 15 member states now want Kenya to officially submit a request to the AU General Assembly to consider designating the organization as an AU specialized agency on matters small arms and light weapons.

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