Consultations on E.A federation for March

Rwanda will next month begin consultations on the fast-tracking of the East African political federation, a senior presidential aide has said.

Rwanda will next month begin consultations on the fast-tracking of the East African political federation, a senior presidential aide has said.

The President’s Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region Ambassador, Dr Richard Sezibera said that a national committee will conduct the process.

The committee is thereafter expected to prepare a report to be submitted to an East African Community (EAC) Heads of State summit.

"All Rwandans will be consulted and by March 3, the committee will have started the exercise," Ambassador Sezibera, who is also the chairman of the National Steering Committee on regional integration, said this week.

Dr Sezibera said that the whole process will take six months.

He explained that all people will have an opportunity to engage in debate on the matter.

"The process is expected to be conducted under an open, frank and candid atmosphere," he added.

Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, all original members of the five-nation East African Community (EAC) bloc, have already completed the process.

However, the community will also have to wait for the reports of Rwanda and Burundi before determining the way forward.

Both Ugandans and Kenyans have backed the fast-tracking of the political federation, but Tanzanians are opposed to it, instead preferring a step-by-step process.

The federation is proposed for January 2010.

Rwanda and Burundi signed the EAC Accession Treaty in June last year, expanding the market for the regional community to 115 million people.

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