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Sitta touts strong economies before federation

Sitta touts strong economies before federation

Mr Sitta said on Wednesday in a speech read on his behalf by the ministry's Deputy Permanent Secretary, Mr Mussa Uledi, that it is imperative for all states to improve their economies and the welfare of their people.

"What the minister was trying to say in his speech is that it is next to impossible to educate the masses on the importance of political integration when they are hungry. Work on their welfare and the rest will fall in line," he explained afterwards to the press.

Mr Sitta said at the second dialogue of the EAC political integration that the move towards achieving the ultimate goal needed deliberate efforts to ensure inclusion and participation of all segments of East Africans in order to be in sync with the operational principles of a people centred cooperation.

He said that based on the same principle, involvement of key stakeholders should also be in a manner that is meaningful and practical and was happy that the forum was well represented by technocrats, academia, researchers and civil society organizations.

"The time has come for us in EAC and indeed on the African continent to sequence properly economic and political integration," he cited.Mr Sitta said that although integration by its nature was a political process that required political will, theoretical and empirical evidence indicates that there is a need in striking a proper balance between economic and political integration.

"Unfortunately the current discourse appears to be skewed towards the thinking of the Western industrialized nations which preach democracy sometimes at the expense of economic growth and development," he elaborated.The minister implored the forum during their two-day deliberations to ponder on the economic crises taking place in various parts of the world and reminded them that EAC would be no exception of being affected and needed to plan for it.

The EAC Deputy Secretary General on Political Federation, Ms Beatrice Kiraso, echoed the sentiments of the minister saying that in the past year, the world had witnessed significant events in many parts.Ms Kiraso said that the world had now new jargons in their vocabulary such as the 'Arab spring', the 'Euro zone crises', 'Occupy Wall Street' and had felt the impacts in political as well as economic terms.

"These are among the new challenges, which coupled with the already existing challenges, need comprehensive and sustainable solutions," she explained.She cited that solutions can only be achieved if East Africans think outside the box to find innovative, collective and harmonized responses which they can generate through dialogue.

Ms Kiraso said she was convinced that the foundation of all good solutions to problems, misunderstandings and divergent positions was discussion and debate. "We must also take cognizance of the global economic and political security environment. This requires us to build and strengthen mechanisms for communication and consultation between our governments, corporate sectors and our people," she urged.

She said that of recent, the region has already started seeing a rise to political intolerance as a result of high inflation, rise in prices of food, fuel and that it provoked one to think harder and come up with appropriate reforms to enhance efficiency for the economies.

Newly sworn in National Constitution Review Commission member, Prof Mwesiga Baregu said that he was pleased the dialogue of political integration coincides with activities of gathering views of a new constitution.Prof Baregu said that it was no secret that there was some stalling of the whole EAC and disagreement among members and a lot of people were still green about what is going on.

"While the commission goes around the country gathering views of the people on what they want, it would also be a good opportunity to educate the people and get their views on the regional community," he said.

The first EAC dialogue on political integration was held in November 2011 under the theme 'Enhancing representation/inclusiveness in promoting EAC integration'.It explored the impact of national politics on regional integration and some of the issues raised required further and continuous discussion especially at partner state level to include as many stakeholders as possible.

The second dialogue under the theme 'Partnership between political and economic integration' seeks to demystify the animal called political integration, unpacking its components, which need to be systematically worked on in order to achieve an irreversible political integration process.

 

 

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Author: MASEMBE TAMBWE

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