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Kibaki urges EAC to use sports as integration tool

30 October 2013, 12:37

Naivasha - Former President Mwai Kibaki on Tuesday called on East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda to use sports as a took to promote regional integration.

Kibaki, who officially opened the 15th edition of the East Africa Golf Challenge at Great in Naivasha, expressed optimism that the ideals set for the EAC to integrate will be achieved just as the golf challenge has succeeded for 15 straight years.

"The imprints of our common ancestry and destiny are tattooed in the men and women from across East Africa present here today," said Kibaki who is a golf player.

He said Golf and other sporting activities organized at regional level aided in integrating people in the EAC.

He said sports enabled free movement of people and goods, which is one of the most important goals of the East African community. The three-day tournament golfers are from the five Partner states.

"In this event I see the signs of great success in the realization of one of the most important goals of the East African community namely, free movement of people and goods across the entire region," Kibaki said.

Kibaki said sports activities are brilliant ways of branding people, communities, nations and even regions to carve their identities and should therefore be accorded its rightful place in the society's development agenda.

"We must treat sportsmen and women as our rightful resources. Moreover, we should aspire to make sure that our respective nations and our region derive a concrete identity from sporting, golfing included," he added.

Kibaki said criminals bent on disrupting peace are bound to fail as the country and the region remained focused on prosperity. He added the nation's and region's focus on peace and unity will not be distracted by enemies of harmonious co-existence.

"It is through this kind of resolve to proceed with an event such as todays that we signal to those bent on disrupting our normal routine that we are focused on greater things," former President said.

Kibaki praised the organizers of the East Africa Golf Challenge for their confidence on the country as their destination of choice despite last month's terror attacks.

"Your presence, and in particular the confidence you have shown in our country, demonstrates Kenya's enduring appeal as a destination. Besides, it signifies your confidence in our region' s future despite the hiccups visited upon us recently by enemies of peace," the former President said.

He said the East Africa Golf Challenge provides an ideal opportunity for sports diplomacy, bringing together a rich array of cultural gems that define the region's unique and richly bedecked character.

The President of the East Africa Golf Federation Mr. David Nyakango said the tournament provided an opportunity for greater cooperation and understanding among the people in the EAC.

- Xinhau


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