Political federation will not dismantle borders

Editor,  REFERENCE IS made to the story, “Clearly demarcated borders help avert conflict – official”, published in this newspaper on February 2.

Editor, 

REFERENCE IS made to the story, “Clearly demarcated borders help avert conflict – official”, published in this newspaper on February 2.

I thought with the current efforts towards regional integration, border demarcation loses sense. I don’t understand why we need to demarcate borders afresh when we are actually opening doors to a regional federation.

Single customs union, use of national IDs to cross borders, common defence and security arrangements and single tourist visa are some of the ongoing projects which seek to ease movement of people and property within the bloc and protect and consolidate achievements registered so far. The progress so far suggests that we are truly headed for a political federation and so land disputes across our borders will be story of the past. Just think aloud.

Richard, Rwanda

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Editor, 

ALLOW ME to respond to Richard’s comment on what he thinks is the irrelevance of borders in the wake of regional economic integration.

Even with the elimination of border controls, states remain independent entities within an overall (con)federation to which aspects of each of the states’ sovereign prerogatives have been pooled.

Only those state functions that the partners choose to relinquish are pooled, the rest remain the preserve of the distinct sovereign states under the principle of subsidiarity.

The police or army in Uganda will not just cross over into Rwanda or Tanzania or Kenya as it chooses. Nor will the Rwandan judiciary adjudicate on legal disputes or criminal acts that fall entirely within the jurisdiction or Uganda or Tanzania.

The combined common security system will be the sum of each member, perhaps with a small coordinating mechanism at the apex, but most security will remain the responsibility of each member as it concerns its solely internal space.

In brief, therefore, border demarcation does not lose sense, even after full integration of the East African member states into a strong (con)federation. Very many issues, including nationality, will remain the preserve of the each member.

Mwene Kalinda, Rwanda

 

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