• The country is honoured - PM Makuza
Dar es Salaam/Kigali - The newly appointed Secretary General of East African Community (EAC), Dr Richard Sezibera, has said that he will advance regional integration to the desired levels.
Shortly after being sworn-in by the Registrar of the East African Court of Justice, Dr John Ruhangisa, Sezibera, noted that his duties are clearly stipulated in the EAC treaty.
He pointed out that he will, among other things, focus on the consolidation of the Customs Union, the Common Market Protocol, establishing a Monetary Union, and ultimately continue with discussions on achieving a political federation.
A seasoned diplomat at regional and international level, Dr. Sezibera said that the EAC is both a region of opportunities and challenges, and that he is upbeat that together, as a bloc, the challenges will be overcome.
“Partner states have worked out a roadmap to address these challenges and East Africans should know that the community is in safe hands to achieve its aspirations,” Sezibera told The New Times.
He added that he will follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, Ambassador Juma Mwapachu, whom he described as a, “A great son of East Africa” and thanked him for his able leadership during the term he held the EAC top job.
“I pay tribute to Ambassador Mwapachu. He has been a very good and excellent Secretary General. He laid the basis of what I will do to carry on the work of the community,” Dr. Sezibera said.
“The shoes might be big, but they are travelling on a road that has been paved by the Heads of State, which gives me the confidence that we will continue to be in a good direction,” he added.
“I thank President Paul Kagame for having had the confidence in me by nominating me for this job…and I will serve to best of my ability”.
The new Secretary General added that his job is for the whole of East Africa, and that he will work hard to advance the integration agenda for all East Africans.
Speaking upon arrival at Kigali International Airport, the Prime Minister Bernard Makuza, said that the overwhelming support of Rwanda’s candidate signified the confidence the community has in Rwanda.
“We are pleased to note that the candidate fronted by President Kagame received overwhelming support from other partner Heads of States,” Makuza told reporters.
“This shows the confidence our region has in the Rwandan people and in Rwanda as a country,” said the Premier who was flanked by Sezibera and the Rwandan delegation to the summit.
Sezibera, a suave and eloquent medical doctor has, among other posts, served as Rwanda’s Ambassador to the United States and was Special Presidential Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, before becoming the Minister of Health in 2008.
He was part of the committee that drafted and fronted Rwanda’s request to join the EAC, and also played a prominent role in the process to restore relations between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).