The Ministers responsible for Police Affairs in the Eastern Africa region held their 21st Hybrid Meeting on 15 October 2021 at Fleuve Hotel Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo and via KUDO platform.

The meeting was attended by Ministers/Representatives from the following EAPCCO member countries namely; Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

Also attendance was also the Executive Director Police services, INTERPOL Mr. Stephen KAVANAGH, the Heads of INTERPOL Regional Bureaus Nairobi and Yaoundé and the Head of NCBs Coordination Desk for Africa.

The Ministers appreciated EAPCCO member countries for their effort in combating Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crimes through enhanced cooperation and collaboration.

The Ministers further recognized the astute leadership provided by the outgoing chairperson Mr. Simon SIRRO during his tenure as the EAPCCO chairperson that has seen the region enjoy peace and tranquility for the last two years. They further applauded the incoming chairperson for committing to work tirelessly to achieve the EAPCCO mandate.

Mr Khamis Hamza CHILO, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Tanzania, on behalf of the Minister of Home Affairs, Honourable George SIMBACHAWENE (MP) expressed his gratitude to the Government and people of DRC for the warm reception accorded to him. He expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the entire EAPCCO family, INTERPOL Secretary General and cooperating partners for their tireless support during his tenure in office. While noting the threats the region is facing that includes, but not limited to terrorism and cybercrime activities, he emphasised the need to sensitise Law Enforcement Officers on the Memorandum of Understanding between CAPCCO and EAPCCO regions that is intended to strengthen cooperation in the fight against TOCs and suppress proliferation of illegal arms in the two regions. He assured his support to the incoming chairperson.

In his acceptance speech, the incoming chairperson of the council of ministers, his Excellency Daniel ASELO OKITO WA KOY, Vice Prime Minister of Interior, Decentralization and Customary Affairs, DRC appreciated the council of Ministers for the honour and privilege they have bestowed upon him on his assumption of office as the Chair of the council of ministers. He attributed the honour to the trust and faith the region has in DRC and its head of state as a Pan Africanist. He assured the Council of ministers that EAPCCO would endeavour to develop dynamic strategies aimed at dealing with cross border and Transnational Organised Crimes. He accepted the offer of becoming the chairperson from the outgoing chair.

Mr. Stephen KAVANAGH INTERPOL Executive Director Police Services, in his remarks expressed his great pleasure to join the 21st Council of Ministers Meeting. He confirmed that the theme of the 23rd EAPCCO AGM reflects the collective hope of a gradual return to a more normal working environment since the beginning of the global crisis of Covid-19. He appreciated the participation of the honourable ministers from the EAPCCO region in the meeting while noting that their participation demonstrates their commitment to international law enforcement cooperation. He underscored the need for member countries to make use of the INTERPOL tools and capabilities to help share information, identify threats more effectively and bring criminals to justice.

The opening ceremony for the 21st meeting of EAPCCO Council of Ministers was graced by the Prime Minister and Chief of Government Hon. Jean-Michel Sama LUKONDE. On behalf of the president of the Republic of DRC, His Excellency, Head of State, Felix Antonie Tshisekedi TSHILOMBO he welcomed all the delegates to Kinshasa. He appreciated the initiatives the President of Republic of DRC has continued implementing with the general influence on the African continent in his capacity as president of African Union. He emphasized on the importance of sub regional organizations in the fight against TOCs.  He called upon member countries to foster the cooperation and build capacity of law enforcement officers, continually share information and conduct due diligence on suspects. He assured the delegates that DRC is open for constructive partnership with different partners.

The meeting witnessed change of chairmanship from the United Republic of   Tanzania to the Democratic of Republic of Congo.

The ministers congratulated the Democratic Republic of Congo for successfully hosting the 23rd EAPCCO hybrid Annual General Meeting despite the prevailing challenges occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic.

The Council of Ministers took note of the request by the Republic of Kenya and Sudan to  support the candidature of their nominees to the INTERPOL Executive Committee African delegate.  They encouraged member countries to accord them the relevant support.

The EAPCCO Chairperson, Commissioner General of Congolese National Police, Mr. Dieudonné AMULI  BAHIGWA briefed the Ministers of the outcome of the 23rd Council of Police Chiefs that was organized under the theme, ‘’Enhancing law Enforcement Strategies in Combating Transnational Organized Crimes in the Wake of COVID-19 and Beyond’ ’The issues discussed included: adoption and  signing of EAPCCO legal documents (Mifugo protocol, EAPCCO/CAPCCO agreement, and EAPCCO CTCoE establishment agreement),  countries activities in the region, endorsement of Marine Police College – Mwanza to be an EAPCCO Centre of Excellence in Maritime Police  training , establishment of joint information cell under EAPCCO CTCoE, contributions to the EAPCCO Accounts and enhanced cooperation with INTERPOL and other cooperating partners.

The Council of Ministers acknowledged  decisions of the Council of Police Chiefs and adopted the resolutions of the 23rd  EAPCCO Annual General Meeting and took note of the following;

The Council of Ministers took note of the continued activities by member countries despite the challenges brought about by the mutating COVID- 19.  They observed that criminals continue to perpetuate their criminal activities despite the prevailing conditions.  They called upon security agencies to remain vigilant and strengthen cooperation and collaboration to enhance the fight against emerging crimes.

The Council of ministers took note of the joint activities carried out by member countries with the support of INTERPOL and other cooperating partners to enhance capacity of Law Enforcement officers in the region to combat transnational Organized Crimes. They lauded member countries and cooperating partners for their effort in implementing resolutions of the 22nd EAPCCO Council of Police Chiefs meeting.

The Council of ministers took note of the need to have the EAPCCO Centers of Excellences operational and therefore called for host countries and EAPCCO secretariat to seek support from cooperating partners.  They further welcomed the decision to have Mwanza Marine Police College in Tanzania  elevated to EAPCCO Centre of Excellence in maritime Police Training. They urged member countries to support Tanzania Police Force to ensure operationalization of the center.

The Council of Ministers took note of the need to have the reviewed 2008 EAPCCO Mifugo Protocol, EAPCCO CTCoE establishment agreement as well as the EAPCCO/CAPCCO cooperation agreement signed.    They appreciated the progress made so far and encouraged the EAPCCO Ministers who have not yet signed to do.

The Council of Ministers emphasized the need for member countries to strengthen sharing of crime related information to strengthen fight against TOCs. He encouraged countries to heighten use of INTERPOL Policing Capabilities to facilitate the process.

The meeting came to an end with commendation to various actors for their support and contribution to security in the region.