Since the establishment of the East African Community (EAC) on the 30th November 1999 there been a promise of more integration and “open” borders between the member states. However, there has by the time and the promise been hurdles. Seemingly with time the EAC Partner States or Member States should have resolved these, but there seems to significant changes with every twist and turn.
This involves Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. They are part of it and has their place. The EAC is working on a Customs Union, Common Market, Monetary Union and the Political Federation/Confederation.
The last piece has moved further as the EAC secretariat is having a 14 day consultations in Uganda and drafting a EAC Political Federation Constitution. That will be vastly different than the treaty, which established the EAC in November 1999. The EAC haven’t even been able to create the other features promised in the EAC. How will it be able to create a confederacy? When it cannot even ensure common market and a customs union over all these years?
Rwanda has distrust with Burundi. Burundi has distrust with Rwanda. Rwanda and Uganda are distrusting each other. Kenya and Tanzania are having squabbles. Even Kenyan and Uganda are having trade-wars too. All of this are supposed to be settled and be water under the bridge. All the people are supposed to be humble and let bygones be bygones. Just forgetting about the issues and the diplomatic impasses, which haven’t been settled and cleared.
Justice Benjamin Odoki can believe in the Confederacy and establishing a Confederation. However, there are two many chickens who isn’t allowed to pass border points. There are to much milk wasted and fighting over ownership over islands on Lake Victoria to suddenly kiss and make up. There are so many hurdles which needs a resolve before even starting writing a constitution for a huge project like this.
Burundi wouldn’t even participate or be part of EAC Heads of State with Rwanda as the Chairman of the EAC of late. There so many possible conflicts and landmines, which if one person dances on that field. It would blow up right in your face.
In 2021 the EAC Confederacy seems like a dream. A dream Yoweri Museveni has had for years. However, it is not sustainable or viable when you cannot even set the bar or the standards for trading chickens across the EAC. When you are not able to trade milk or maize. There are just to many issues with the small offerings, before you take the whole house.
The EAC will go from being a regional intergovernmental organisation to a League of Nation with a Union of Sovereign States united for one purpose. The EAC would become similar to the European Union in East Africa. The EALA and EAC Head of State Summits would have more power and a bigger mandate. They would regulate the trading agreements and joint movement rules between all the member states. That is furthering the powers of today’s secretariat in Arusha.
The EAC needs to fix the spoils and the neighbourly spats which are happening in East Africa. Before they are bounding itself a bigger adventure. When it hasn’t fixed and ensured more flexible trading between the nations. How can it suddenly become a EU of the East Africa?
I don’t see that happening. The EAC needs to gets the ducks in a row or be able to trade chickens before it makes the EALA into the next European Parliament and configures its own European Commission. As it already has its Heads of State Summits, which is more a photo-op these days. Than a place of unity and pledges of furthering the integration of the partner states.
That’s why the EAC needs to swallow some chickens and drink some chai tea before it continues this journey. Peace.