South Sudan on Friday last week, became the sixth member of the East African Community as the world’s youngest nation embarked on implementing comprehensive reforms in order to catch up with the other member states.
President Salva Kiir said conflict resolution and upholding peace in his country was his biggest commitment after inking an ascension Treaty in Dar es Salaam with President John Magufuli, who is the Community’s chair.
President Kiir named some of the reforms that his country would be making in the near future as the establishment of national revenue collection authority, forming a special ministry in his government charged with EAC affairs, review and passing number of laws and policies in order to harmonise them with other community member states.
He also said his country also needs capacity building and institutional support, and he was hoping that the community will extend its helping hand.
“We are equally aware of the major progress that the EAC has made in the recent times. The community is today respected as the most integrated bloc on the continent and one among the best globally. We accept this challenge of competitive open market through hard work and commitment. Tied with necessary reforms, South Sudan will raise to the occasion,” he said.
On the execution of peace deal in his country President Kiir said: “We believe with peace and stability in our country progress will be made and our objectives will be achieved.”
In August last year, President Kiir and his arch-rival who is now First Vice President designate Dr Riek Machar signed a peace deal, ending two years of a civil war.
The peace deal catalysed the admission of South Sudan to EAC, which the country had applied in November 2011, only four months after seceding from Sudan.
The fasttracking of South Sudan’s admission to EAC has raised question with some regional observers suggesting that the move was premature and politically motivated.
Their argument is that the country has not passed through a rigorous application procedures of harmonising laws and regulations like what Rwanda for instance, went through before admitted to the community, and most importantly the Juba regime falls short in meeting the requirements for human rights and respect for rule of law.