The East African Community is considering setting up a regional Security Council that would help resolve some of the conflicts within the bloc, a top EAC top official has said.
The council would be part of the efforts by the member states to create a single government with one leader under the political federation framework, according to Charles Njoroge, deputy secretary general (political federation) of the EAC.
“We are looking to achieve a political federation and we are on course towards its implementation. But we are considering having a security council that will arbitrate any matters of political consequence that will arise within the region,” said Njoroge, who is specifically in charge of political federation matters.
The official said that the proposed council would mitigate such issues as the recent expulsion of perceived Rwandans from Tanzania.
More than 7,000 people have so far been evicted from Tanzania’s Kagera region, especially in the districts of Biharamuro, Karagwe Ngara Muleba Missenyi.
Though the integration process of the EAC remains on course, there is no clear platform within which conflicts that might arise between partner states can be arbitrated.
Meanwhile, on the issue of Tanzania not being part of the a trilateral arrangement to fast track some of the regional intergration projects, the deputy secretary general said that it is was acceptable for countries to go bilateral or trilateral in implementing some of the projects conceptualised under the regional framework.
“There is nothing like a smaller bloc within the community; it’s just a misunderstanding; when two countries come together to achieve something of mutual benefit, it’s allowed,” he said.
In recent months, there have been high level meetings between the Presidents of Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, during which the three principals agreed to fast-track key infrastructure projects.
It was speculated that Tanzania, which hosts the bloc’s secretariat, was being sidelined because of its percieved reluctance to implement some of the protocols under the integration process, including the customs union.
Njoroge added that the fact that some countries like South Sudan and Somalia want to join the community is a clear indicator that the bloc is only growing stronger.
Four EAC partner states—Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, and Burundi – are already working on a draft EAC constitution that would lead to the realisation of a political federation.
Members are applying the so called “variable geometry principle” in the regional integration, which allows some of the members within the community to move faster than others on some matters.
It is envisaged that the Federal State will comprise a Federal Executive, Federal Legislature and a Federal Judiciary, with functions based on the principle of separation of powers.
The envisaged political federation is expected to create a unified authority to coordinate policies, address the associated challenges as well as ensure sustainable growth and development of the bloc.