Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda have renewed their push to fast-track the East African Community Political Federation Protocol under the Northern Corridor Infrastructure Projects initiative.
The decision was adopted by the three partners in Kigali during the Northern Corridor Heads of State Summit on March 6, following a proposal by Uganda that the political will to fast-track the process be re-energised.
According to Uganda, unending consultations may undermine the process and hinder achieving the deadline of having an EAC federation by 2016.
The three partners are expected to appoint focal points for co-ordination of the process. The EAC Summit held last month in Nairobi failed to adopt the federation roadmap and constitution.
The EAC presidents are expected to adopt the proposed roadmap and launch the process of drafting the EAC constitution during their next summit in April.
Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi did not agree on the proposed federation model for the presidents to adopt and requested more time to consult on the report compiled by experts on the drafting of a constitution for the federation and the timelines for implementation.
However, Uganda said such consultation was not necessary because the road map had been agreed on and should be presented to the presidents for adoption as earlier directed.
President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, in his address to the country’s parliament in 2013, talking about the allegations that Tanzania was an impediment to regional integration, said the country will not agree to fast track political federation by jumping over other key integration processes such as the monetary union.
“I am highly puzzled and deeply saddened by efforts to sideline Tanzania even in issues that have all along been discussed at the level of the EAC summit meetings,” said President Kikwete.
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has long advocated the fast-tracking of the political federation, insisting that the region should not only be an economic bloc, but also a political one.
In his address in 2013 as the chair of the EAC, President Museveni said that even if the economic integration were successful, there were certain issues that could not be addressed through economic integration alone.
President Uhuru Kenyatta in his recent interview with The EastAfrican said that the timeline for achieving a political federation was not too ambitious. “In the past few years, the idea and practice of full integration have gathered momentum,” said President Kenyatta.