The government of the United States of America (USA) has initiated a comprehensive security and communication training for Kenya’s security officials and information officers.
The intergovernmental training are running under the auspices of Security Governance Initiative (SGI).
The training which targets 21 border counties which are susceptible to insecurity and divided in three phases is organized by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Tucson City in Arizona State and Washington DC respectively.
The first batch of County Commissioners, County Police Commanders and County Information Officers from seven counties spent last week in Tucson City for the capacity building training.
The trainings are mainly on effective border management to prevent potential terrorism, illegal immigration, drug trafficking and illegal importation.
The counties involved in the first phase training that included a workshop and visits to the US-Mexico Border at Nogales City and the headquarters of CBP in Arizona were Mombasa, Busia, Kajiado, Migori, Taita Taveta and Marsabit.
The border management training to be conducted during the months of July, August and September this year is as a result of close cooperation between the two governments on security and other areas of mutual interest.
This was enhanced by Barack Obama administration under the Security Governance Initiative (SGI) in 2015 where US pledged to train and equip Kenya’s security agencies on intelligence gathering and to respond effectively to border threats.
In May this year, the Donald Trump Administration has promised US support to Kenya to fight terror, crime and sea piracy as part of the framework for the Bilateral Strategic Dialogue signed between the two countries.
“Since we face security challenges as a country we therefore stand to benefit significantly from these highly advanced training,’’ said Kang’ethe Thuku, who was the head of Kenya’s advance delegation in Tucson City.
Thuku who is also the Principal Administrative Secretary (PAS) in the Interior Ministry hailed the US government for sponsoring the training saying it will help Kenya to effectively manage its border against harmful people and other regional border crimes.
He said Kenya values the partnership with US and intends to borrow the advanced technology from it to protect her borders from terrorists, illegal movement of people, drugs and contraband.
“We must keep our borders safe to encourage legal movement of people and trade which will result in the improvement our economy,” said Thuku.
The PAS said Kenya is a strategic partner of the US and that the country stands to benefit a lot since the training will in the long run promote stability and prosperity in Kenya and beyond.
He said the sharing of experiences and best practices between the US security and public affairs officials on one hand and the Kenya government security and communication officers on the other will result in better coordinated border management in the identified counties.
Jeff Zadareky, Acting Chief of Staff Joint Task force West Arizona said the US government will work closely with Kenya on security issues and other areas that are beneficial to the two nations.
Zadareky hailed Kenya as among the few African countries that have made great strides in the management of security and border matters and added that US will strengthen the traditional areas of cooperation such as counter-terrorism, trade and regional stability.
Harrison Koech, the training coordinator noted it was important to bring on board the security and information officials as they play crucial roles in security and information management.
“The security and information officials will be working in tandem in the management of public affairs and ensure that the citizens are able to receive credible and timely information in a coordinated manner,” said Koech.
The Arizona trip was split between field trips and series of intensive lectures to help the participants to fully appreciate and understand the border management programmes and initiatives.
During the field trip, the participants accompanied by US Customs and Border Protection Officials embarked on border patrol missions on the US-Mexico border that traverses a variety of terrains ranging from urban areas, mountains to deserts.
The US Customs and Border Protection is one of the world’s largest enforcement organizations whose main responsibility is keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the US and at the same time facilitating legal movement of people and trade.
The Organization is a single unified border entity that undertakes a comprehensive approach to border management and control, combining customs, immigration, border security and agricultural protection into one coordinated and supportive activity.
By Mohamed Hassan