EAC leaders criticised on integration

Saturday August 31 2019

East African Community heads of State (from left) Uhuru Kenyatta, Paul Kagame, Yoweri Museveni, John Magufuli and Burundi's deputy president Gaston Sindimwo at the EAC Summit in Arusha on February 1, 2019. PHOTO | FILBERT RWEYEMAMU


Civil society organisations and scholars have heaped blame on East Africa’s political leaders for the failure to keep commitments they make on the promotion of regional integration.

They said the decisions the East African Community heads of state make are anchored on a treaty in a process driven by the political leaders rather than the people.

They cited the EAC heads of state’s decision to reconfigure the political federation pillar to confederation, a mode which they said lacked legal backing in the treaty establishing the bloc.

“The European Union has a lot of things for Africans to learn from,” Prof Mohabe Nyirabu from the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Dar es Salaam told the EAC Integration Symposium held in Arusha on Thursday.

Dr Azaveli Lwaitama, programme co-ordinator with Vision East Africa Forum, which organised the symposium, said the EAC heads of state had chosen the gradual political co-operation in specified areas for fear of losing sovereignty to the bloc.

“Even the much-touted African Continental Free Trade Area is nothing but a retreat of the African Economic Community,” he said.