EAC FEDERATION: Process gets new push

ZANZIBAR: PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan hosted her Ugandan counterpart, President Yoweri Museveni and Kenyan President William Ruto for discussions centred on advancing the East African Community (EAC), with a particular focus on fast-tracking the establishment of the bloc’s political federation.

Expressing satisfaction with the meeting, President Samia noted the importance of expediting the formation of the East African federation, highlighting the potential economic benefits for citizens across the region.

“I had a great time with President Museveni and Ruto.  Among other things we have discussed is accelerating the formation of the East African federation,” President Samia wrote on X.

The three Heads of State met at Tunguu State House in Zanzibar. President Samia emphasised the need to ensure that East African citizens fully benefit from the opportunities available within the integrated market.

Additionally, discussions encompassed measures to enhance defence and security cooperation, recognising it as a crucial pillar for achieving the bloc’s objectives.

According to a post in X from Ikulu Tanzania, the presidents agreed on the urgency of conducting public participation exercises on the structure and areas to be considered in the Draft Constitution of the East African Community Political Federation.

The exercise has already commenced in several East African countries, including Kenya, Burundi and Uganda, led by teams of experts from each member state.

President Museveni echoed President Samia’s sentiments, emphasising the significance of the EAC attaining political federation for ensuring regional prosperity and strategic security.

President Museveni wrote “Yesterday I spent the day in Zanzibar with their excellencies Samia and Ruto. Our discussion cantered on the significance of the EAC attaining political federation, which would most certainly guarantee the prosperity of our people through a larger market while also ensuring their strategic security.”

Echoing historical significance, President Ruto highlighted the parallel between the current meeting and the March 14, 1996 gathering of Presidents Daniel Arap Moi, Yoweri Museveni and Benjamin Mkapa, which laid the foundation for East African Cooperation.

He stressed the vision of promoting unity among communities in the member states, harnessing economic benefits and ensuring stability through security cooperation.

“Reflecting on history today as we gather in Zanzibar, it is remarkable that our meeting coincides with that of March 14, 1996,” he wrote.

The ultimate goal of the EAC’s integration process is the establishment of the Political Federation, representing the fourth step after the Customs Union, Common Market and Monetary Union.

Article 5(2) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community outlines the concept of the Political Federation, which will be founded on pillars of common foreign and security policies, good governance and effective implementation.

In May 2017, EAC Heads of State adopted the Political Confederation as a transitional model toward achieving the Political Federation, encompassing sectors such as International Relations and Peace and Security.

Sectors under the Political Federation include International Relations (establishing common foreign and security policies) and Peace and Security (fostering a conducive atmosphere for social and economic development through cooperation and consultations on peace and security issues among Partner States).

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