The origin of the East African Community

In the latter part of the 19th century European powers decided to create states in Africa and gave themselves the mission to ‘civilize’ the people as well as exploiting those new created administrative units.

In the latter part of the 19th century European powers decided to create states in Africa and gave themselves the mission to ‘civilize’ the people as well as exploiting those new created administrative units.

The British invaded eastern part of the African continent. They formed two artificial countries, namely the Uganda Protectorate, where they found strong nation-states and amalgamated others to those ones to make Uganda.

In fact, that name originated from one strong Kingdom called BUGANDA as well as others like Ankole, Toro, Bunyoro and Busoga amoung others.

The British colonialists forced agreement among these with those kingdoms and they called them Protectorate. The whole new country was called the Uganda Protectorate. The other Protectorate country was Zanzibar.

The British found Zanzibar under the rule of the Oman-Arab Sultanate. The Arabs had used this Island of Zanzibar as the center of slave trade during the 17, 18 and 19ţh centuries. This Arabs rule was extended to the coastal areas of present Kenya and Tanzania mainland.

The other British colony was Kenya; this one was an amalgamation of small nations grouped together which they called Kenya a name that came from the mountain they found there, called KINYAA.

The fourth country was the Tanganyika territory. This one was the creation of the Germany Imperial power. Tanganyika, Rwanda and Burundi were Dutch Ost-Africa.

At the end of the European First World War, the Germany African colonies were taken away by the winners of that war.

Tanganyika was given to the British and Rwanda- Urundi to the Belgians.

In order to facilitate the control of the British rule in East Africa, they grouped these four under one administration to facilitate the control of their interests under one umbrella.

Institutions were formed such as East African Airways, East African Railways and Harbours, East African Currency Board, East African Post and Telecommunications, East African Custom Union and East African Income Taxes.

Through these institutions, the colonial control was eased to that extend that the people of these four territories moved freely. They could even settle anywhere they so wished. 

It was in the middle of the 20ţt century, when many African countries started agitating for their national independence within those boundaries. Tanganyika got independence first in 1961, Uganda in 1962, Zanzibar in 1964 and Kenya in 1963.

Since these countries had experience of working together under the British rule using English language, they decided to form a common market under the name of East African Community in 1967.

Prior to that formation, Tanganyika and Zanzibar had formed a union under the name United Republic of Tanzania in 1964.

The new East African community, born in 1967, was Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. All of the three countries were sovereign States each.

For those who want to explore more about the origin of that community, read next weeks installment.

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