A photo on the East African Community’s (EAC) website is worth a thousand words: It shows two beaming faces; one of the EAC Secretary General and the other of a senior official in the German Ministry of Foreign affairs.
Germany had just pledged funding worth 61.5 million Euros to commemorate 20 years since its cooperation with the EAC.
The cooperation is nothing more than the annual financial aid without which the EAC would not function. That is a state of affairs the community had not been ashamed to live with all that time.
In fact, the German official alluded to it when he suggested that the EAC strengthen its own financial resources. It was like reminding them that they were tired of supporting someone who was unwilling to stand on their own.
Every now and then, we hear about EAC members falling behind with their financial contributions. Some have arrears that go back years as if they are members by name only but have no real commitment.
When we have members that have not fully implemented the Common Market Protocol, when Non-Tariff Barriers are still in place and have not yet adopted the Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) to ease the movement of professionals in the region, one wonders whether the monetary union – leave alone political federation – will ever see the light of day.
The image of the EAC SG gratefully shaking hands with the German godfather is really disturbing and we should be ashamed of moving around with a begging bowl. We can do better that by keeping our dignity shirt on. What a shame.