At least two constitutional experts and a legislative draftsperson nominated by each of the East African Community member states were expected at the consultation meeting on drafting the EAC political confederation constitution that kicked off in Ngozi province in Burundi last week.
After the committee of experts drafts the regional constitution, a Bill will be submitted to the Heads of State Summit for approval.
According to the chairperson of the committee, Benjamin Odoki, a draft constitution is expected in two years, in time for the proposed implementation of the confederation model by 2023.
The Political Federation—the pinnacle of the EAC Regional Integration—is the fourth step after the Customs Union, Common Market and Monetary Union.
If the constitution is adopted, partner states will begin ceding power to the confederation. Each partner state’s constitution will then be subordinate to the federation’s constitution.
Even as Burundi is hosting the five-day meeting, its sour relations with Rwanda came to the fore as Kigali did not send a representative, prompting President Pierre Nkurunziza’s deputy spokesman Alain Diomede Nzeyimana to tweet “President Pierre Nkurunziza believes that the idea of a "Political Federation" will not be easy to realise given the absence of Rwanda in the consultations.”
Commenting on Kigali’s absence, Rwanda’s EAC Minister Olivier Nduhungirehe said it would not hinder the process “since the absence of Burundi in EAC meeting hosted by Rwanda never impacted the EAC integration.”