RE: “Can EAC stumble and mumble to greatness?” (The New Times, March 14).
You will unfortunately have a very long wait before the East African Community (EAC) becomes anything remotely approaching greatness.
In my opinion, the most tangible and useful part of East African Community is related to the accelerating pace of infrastructure integration on the Northern Corridor, and it is mainly being pushed outside the EAC framework.
With the appointment of a new EAC chief nominated by a highly contested and murderous, even if defacto, power in Bujumbura, I do not see how this will improve the EAC’s legitimacy over the next five years. If anything, I expect the Community’s credibility to erode further as it fails (like the rest of Africa and the UN) to address the Burundian crisis effectively and as the continued festering and probable worsening of the Burundi crisis spreads the rot all across the Community’s operations.
Hopefully, President John Pombe Magufuli will succeed in his effort to cleanse Tanzania of its runaway corruption and give the country the foundation on which a saner social and economic transformation can be undertaken.
A very tall order given the extreme levels of rot at the highest levels of state that have engulfed Tanzania since Julius Nyerere’s retirement and which attained unimaginable levels during Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete’s administration.
But even if that were to happen, the Community would still not be able to achieve its full potential without a peaceful end to the Burundi crisis. It would similarly remain a very uphill struggle if similar levels of corruption in the other countries, with the notable exception of Rwanda (and even here it is a continuing Herculean struggle just to remain in the same place), are not tackled and overcome.
And so greatness for the EAC is possible, but improbable, if existing conditions are not addressed and discernible trends reversed. In the current circumstances, just maintaining the status quo may be as much as one might hope for.