EAC political federation: Rwandans have mixed feelings

After the success of the East African Community (EAC) Customs Union, the five member states have embarked on the fast tracking of the political federation. The federation is expected to be in place by 2013, should Rwanda, Kenya Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania endorse it.

After the success of the East African Community (EAC) Customs Union, the five member states have embarked on the fast tracking of the political federation. The federation is expected to be in place by 2013, should Rwanda, Kenya Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania endorse it.

To fast track the political federation, Rwanda formed a 12- member National Consultative Committee (NCC) to seek ideas from Rwandans.

Gloria I. Anyango sought views from Rwandans about joining the EAC political federation.

Christian Gakombe, Film maker, Walking Pictures Rwanda

Africans can do it! A political federation will prevent wars within the region. We can be independent and Rwanda’s security will also improve. Having one government and a united force will guarantee peace and security in the region.

Even neighbouring DR Congo can become secure and there will be no more war. We shall be a good example to some European countries like France and Germany. We can teach them that we live together in peace without them interfering and creating divisions within the region.

Rita Nafula an employee of Ecobank

It won’t work. There is a possibility that the bigger countries can easily take advantage of the smaller ones. EAC should focus first on economic stability.

It should also wait until the financial crisis stabilises. Besides, the political federation will depend on the success of the Common Market and single currency.

Augustine Mico, Legal Adviser of Kigali City Council

The political federation has more advantages than disadvantages.

Rwanda is geographically small, with limited land and minerals, yet has a large population of people who are unemployed.  Having one government, free movement of people will expose Rwandans to new ideas of development.

The problem of ethnic differences will completely disappear. Ethnicity will become insignificant since the EAC has various tribes that live and work together.

Samuel Gahigana, 3rd year sociology student at Kigali Independent University (ULK)

One president for the EAC states is something hard to achieve.

Rwanda is not at the same level of development with other EAC states. Federating would be problematic because all the EAC states have different histories that have affected many issues.

Also the budgets of every country vary giving priority to specific emergency. Therefore, forming one EAC state is currently unrealistic.

Prof Servilien M. Sebasoni- Communication Official, Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF)

The Political Federation is good for Rwanda. Rwanda would not lose her sovereignty because of her physically small size and geographical location. Having one government is not a new thing in our region.

Consider the pre-colonial days: there were no state boundaries, Africans freely moved around. Colonialists only created division when they forced state boundaries. Having one government is possible in Africa, since our cultures and languages are not so different

Jane Kayitesi, an accountant

No! The political federation will not work. The idea is good and should be backed however, the timing is very wrong. Trying to achieve one government so fast will lead to losing what we already have.

Besides, Africa’s political level is still not to the standard to allow having one government. Take the example of West Africa which have failed to form a united government, how can it work for EAC?

Emanuel Manzi Gakwaya- Public Relations Officer, National Service of Gacaca Court

Having one head of state soon is too fast for Rwanda. After the 1994 Genocide, Rwanda is still dealing with eliminating the genocide ideology from some people.

Emmanuel Hategeka, Private Sector Federation (PSF) Secretary General and a member of the NCC

The Political federation will address the most pressing businessman’s concerns, which are; free movement of goods, services, capital and people. He was addressing the business community.

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