EAC to debate political federation

Officials from member countries of the East African Community will meet early next month in Kigali to discuss the roadmap for the realisation of the political federation.
People queue at immigration office. The integration process will ease movement of people across the bloc. The New Times/ File.
People queue at immigration office. The integration process will ease movement of people across the bloc. The New Times/ File.

Officials from member countries of the East African Community will meet early next month in Kigali to discuss the roadmap for the realisation of the political federation.

The meeting is in light of the tripartite arrangement on regional infrastructure development between Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya.

Uganda, which was tasked to spearhead the establishment of the one regional government during the June Heads of State Summit in Entebbe, will chair the discussions.

Monique Mukaruliza, the national coordinator of the tripartite initiative, said the meeting will discuss the terms of reference and the roadmap.

Article 5(2) of the treaty establishing the EAC envisages a Customs Union, a Common Market, a Monetary Union and ultimately a Political Federation in order to strengthen and regulate the industrial, commercial, infrastructural, cultural, social, political and other relations of the Partner States.

“Realising political federation will be based on the success of Customs Union, a Common Market, and a Monetary Union.  Once people are moving freely within the Community I have no doubt that the federation will be realised,” Mukaruliza said.

During last week’s infrastructure meeting in Mombasa, Kenya, Presidents Paul Kagame, Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) and Uhuru Kenyata (Kenya) directed the ministers responsible to fast track the political federation project and then present a report in the October summit in Kigali.

It is envisaged that the Federal State will comprise a Federal Executive, Federal Legislature and a Federal Judiciary, with functions based on the principle of separation of powers.

The political federation is expected to create a unified authority to coordinate policies, address the associated challenges as well as ensure sustainable growth and development in all sectors.

Technical experts and ministers are also set to prepare a draft of the Federal constitution.

Dr Charles Kabwete, the head of political and administrative sciences department at the National University of Rwanda, said the federation is a prudent idea but it would present its own challenges.

“It’s viable in economic and strategic interest because we have already achieved a lot since EAC inception.

“Strategically, if achieved, the region creates a bigger voice in the international community but the question is its feasibility because some leaders might not accept to cede their powers in order to have a united community.”

 Experts say partner states should first harmonise their constitutions to ensure uniform presidential term limits and electoral processes.

 

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