East African Community leaders on Saturday, February 27, appointed Kenyas Peter Mathuki, as the next Secretary-General of the regional bloc. He takes over from Burundi’s Liberat Mfumukeko, who’s completing his five-year term. Mathuki has been serving as executive director of East African Business Council (EABC). He was appointed during the 21st ordinary summit of the EAC Heads of State, held virtually owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. The meeting was convened by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda in his capacity as outgoing chair of the Summit. During the meeting, Kagame was replaced by his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta, while Burundi took over the role of rapporteur of the Summit, previously held by Kenya. Both the chair and rapporteur roles are rotational on an annual basis. EAC comprises six nations, namely; Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. DR Congo and Somalia have also applied to join Unveiling Mathuki as the new EAC secretary general, President Kagame said, we look forward to working closely, together. Mathuki, who holds a PhD in Strategic Management and Regional Integration from the University of Nairobi, has been at helm of EABC since 2018, during which he promoted business interests in the bloc. He has also been involved in the process to kick-start the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and establishment of the African Business Council. As EAC boss, Mathuki also actively urged for the admission of the DR Congo into the regional bloc. Who is Mathuki? He formerly served as a Member of Parliament of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), where he chaired the EALA committee on good governance, and also a served on the committee of trade and investment. He also previously served as director in charge of International Labour Standards at the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) -Africa, which later became ITUC-Africa, and in the European Union programmes for Africa. Mathuki also sits on several boards such as the Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest), Nairobi, and the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), Kampala. He is a member of the Kenya Institute of Management (KIM). He was instrumental in the negotiation of the EAC Common Market Protocol and regional economic issues since 2004. The role of secretary general The EAC secretary general runs affairs of the blocs secretariat, the executive organ of the Community. It is the secretariat that ensures that the regulations and directives adopted by the Council of Ministers are properly implemented, and provides the Council of Ministers with strategic recommendations. The headquarters of the EAC secretariat is located in Arusha, Tanzania. At the head of the EAC secretariat is the secretary general, the principal executive and accounting officer of the Community as well as the Secretary of the Summit. They are appointed by the Summit for a fixed five-year, non-renewable term. ‘Big task’ awaits Mathuki Earlier this week, MP Aden Omar Abdikadir, a Kenyan member of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), told The New Times that the new SG will have a big task ahead. Abdikadir said that there was a lot of mistrust among partner states partly because of lack of a strong organ to coordinate integration. The new SG needs to move with speed to build trust and relationships between organs of the community and between partner states, Abdikadir noted. We need a person who can coordinate the EAC institutions and organs better to make sure they are serving the purpose they are there for and deliver for the people of East Africa.