EAST African Community Games have ended this week in Burundian capital, Bujumbura, hitting more than its desired level of success.
Its benefits are many; but most notably the games have helped to dismantle the colonial boundaries to the extent that Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi are becoming just sporting venues, not distant countries as one could politically describe them.
Though it might not look precisely that way to the core members of the East African Community; the games and other sporting events being organized in the region are strong unifying factors that also serve in pacifying and harmonizing people of the region, probably more than what politicians could do.
Military games, whose 11th edition involved volleyball, basketball, netball, football and athletics, alongside urging measures sporting excellence, have gone more further than a sporting event with an addition of cultural events.
Most notably was Burundi’s traditional drummers and the associated folk dances, who appealed to participants as a rare entertainment.
It was good to see that netball, once a strictly Anglophone domain, is now being played in Rwanda and Burundi and the latest results; Kenya 78, Burundi 10, can tell something very important.
Altogether, cricket, also a sport dominated by members of the Commonwealth, is developing fast in the two countries, to the extent; their teams are no longer regarded as underdogs in the regional-level tournaments.
Since it has been a unifying factor, we would suggest to the organizers to include other sports in later editions such as golf, lawn tennis, cycling, hockey, handball and squash so as to widen the games’ sporting sphere.
We end up by supporting vital statements given by some officials and sportsmen and women who said the success of the event doesn’t only mean winning titles, but more importantly to bring Eastern African people close together.