Ruto urges state officials to take up training at National Defence College

President William Ruto (right) and Chief of Defense Gen. Francis Ogolla during graduation at National Defense College in Nairobi on May 25, 2023. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

"I encourage you to live up to the ideals and aspirations of the National Defence College and to spearhead strategic national aspirations within your institutions in the capacities you shall be assigned to from here," he said.

At the same time the Head of State called for removal of trade barriers in East Africa.

He said it was time for the barriers to be "turned to bridges" to improve the region's growth.

"I have told the graduates that there is need to work together to eliminate the borders and turn them into bridges so we can better harness the opportunities in our continent for trade and investment," he said.

The President said that just like other heads of state in Africa he is committed to continuously work on building the necessary structures that will bring all countries into one trading bloc so that they can build a common market for the people and attract investors.

"What we are aiming for is to build a 1.3 trillion-dollar economy and that by 2050 the economy should be two and a half times of what it is today," he said

The President has been pushing the East African Community (EAC) member states to remove borders which he often says are a product of the Berlin Conference that partitioned the continent allocating the boundaries.

He termed the borders old-fashioned and divisive and urged the region to work together to build bridges of better friendship for their own gain and growth.

President William Ruto poses for a picture with military officers who graduated at National Defense College in Nairobi on May 25,2023. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Ruto's call comes as plans are underway for the drafting of the Constitution for the proposed EAC Political Confederation.

This week, the committee of experts have been in Nairobi collecting views from stakeholders and opinion leaders in Kenya through national consultative forums on what should be included in the said constitution so as to have a harmonised region.

On Monday three counties presented their views most of who wanted the boundaries to be eradicated to enhance free trade.

The team led by retired Uganda Chief Justice Benjamin Odok met President Ruto in Statehouse, Nairobi, where he urged them to fast track the process and release the first draft constitution soon.

The constitution will only be finalised after all seven EAC heads of state okay the first draft.

The event was attended by Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale, Chief of Defence Forces Gen Francis Ogolla, National Security Advisor Monica Juma among others.