East Africa: United We Stand; A Federation of East Africa Moved a Step Closer to Fruition When the Presidents of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania Agreed at the End of November to Fast-Track the Implementation Process. Stuart Price Reports
Price, Stuart, New African
Reminiscent of the foresight of former African visionaries, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania have now agreed to expedite the process to establish an East African Federation by 2010. At their sixth summit held in the Tanzanian town of Arusha, Presidents Mwai Kibaki (Kenya), Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) and Benjamin Mkapa (Tanzania) accepted a report by a Fast Track Committee which recommended a roadmap to the political federation of the region.
Headed by the Kenyan attorney general, Amos Wako, the Committee proposed a timetable for full integration by 2012, with the executive arm being established a year later in 2013. Although the three countries will maintain their national identities--including their individual presidents, parliaments and flags--they will share a chief justice, supreme court, cabinet and federal parliament.
During the consolidation period between 2010 and 2012, the federation's presidency will rotate between the three member states before elections for the federal parliament and president are held during the first quarter of 2013.
Commenting on the proposals, President Kibaki said: "It is my desire that East African integration be achieved in my lifetime. Our people are ready to embrace the federation."
He added that the concept was a great honour to the founding fathers of the three countries--Julius Nyerere (Tanzania), Jomo Kenyatta (Kenya) and Milton Obote (Uganda)--who had a vision for the unity and prosperity of the region.
With a population of 90m and a combined GDP of US25bn, the East African region has the potential to become a stronger trading power. The strengthening and regulation of political, economic and social ties will also provide the opportunity to improve the quality of life of the people.
Also of significance is political stability of the wider region which will be a huge challenge for the federation. With the 18-year insurgency by the Lord's Resistance Army against the Ugandan government continuing, and rumours of other shadowy rebel movements opposed to Museveni's government reportedly surfacing in eastern DRCongo, stability, security and conflict resolution will be high on the federation's agenda. …