Tanzania has always been the epitome of peace and stability in the post-colonial East Africa. It is the envy of its neighbours, particularly in view of how political events have unfolded in individual nations after they acquired independence.
Kenya has had sporadic political hiccups over the last 20 years, which culminated into over 1500 deaths early this year in post-election violence. It has since sobered up, in a record quick time when you consider the history of conflicts in the region, to come back on track.
Uganda has been resilient. It survived Idi Amin, escaped the December 1980 to January 1986 tyranny and is now thriving after outliving a 21-year rebellion in the country’s northern region. The rebels have been weakened beyond recovery and Kampala is poised to take advantage by refocusing resources.
Burundi, after tying Uganda’s unenviable record of changing presidents eight times in just a quarter of a century, is finally stabilising. A peace deal recently agreed and signed with FNL, a group of rebels who have been fighting to overthrow Pierre Nkurunziza’s regime, has all the signs of succeeding.
And Rwanda; it has gone through the worst of all, by far – a genocide in 1994 that did not only consume a million human lives that were the prime resource, but also left for dead the physical infrastructure in virtually all sectors and therefore the economy.
Political, economic, cultural and social reconstruction has been undertaken in the last 14 years in a breath-taking manner, producing amazing results. The country is now arguably the most secure in the region, something that attests to the full-recovery assertion.
Rwanda, along with Burundi, was admitted to the EAC only 12 months ago. The first anniversary since it joined has been marked by a historical regional investment conference and the assuming by President Paul Kagame of the EAC chair. He can be sure all eyes will be focused on him as an expert in exploiting opportunities.
The one year he will be chairman is a short time, but long enough to set the pace on which a stable EAC can move as it implements the development strategies put in place by his predecessors.