EAC leaders upbeat as Nduva takes hot seat

Saturday June 08 2024

East African Community’s first female Secretary-General Veronica Mueni Nduva. PHOTO | FILE | NMG


East African Community’s first female Secretary-General Veronica Mueni Nduva was sworn in at an Extraordinary Heads of State Summit chaired by President Salva Kiir of South Sudan in Juba.

Ms Nduva, who leaves the job of Principal Secretary for Public Serice, Performance and Delivery Management, pledged to address the pressing issues in the bloc and remain faithful to the integration agenda.

She also promised to dedicate her time to promote peace in a region that is facing conflict in eastern Congo, closed borders between Rwanda and Burundi, and tensions between Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. She acknowledged her predecessor Dr Peter Mathuki and the Secretariat staff, saying their efforts led to a strong foundation to enhance progress towards attaining the four pillars of the EAC integration.

President Kiir said the EAC is on the right track.

Read: EAC: New secretary general, old problems

“We are now at 15 percent at trading among ourselves. We look forward to increasing the percentage with the admission of Somalia,” he said. President Kiir also announced that South Sudan would be hosting public participation and consultation on the Political Federation in July.


“It is our collective responsibility to pursue a just and equitable political settlement of disputes,” he said.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni acknowledged President Kiir’s efforts in calling for peace in eastern Congo, saying his travels across the region were essential in fostering peace.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan thanked Dr Mathuki for his valuable contribution and furthering the vision of the Community.

“During his time as the SG, we witnessed several milestones. I wish him all the best on his new assignment,” she said and thanked President William Ruto for nominating Ms Nduva as the first woman to head the Secretariat.

“To the incoming SG, welcome to the Community and in particular to Arusha. I congratulate you for a well-deserved appointment,” the Tanzanian leader said.

“You have made history in our community by becoming the first woman to hold this important position. We trust that you will hit the ground running and you have what it takes to meet the expectations of East Africans, especially women, youth and children who are the majority in the Community.”

Read: A look at Peter Mathuki's tenure as EAC boss

President Samia also asked Ms Nduva to handle challenges facing the Community with due diligence, including financial challenges, corruption and the integration agenda.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda congratulated the incoming Ms Nduva and paid tribute to Dr Mathuki for a “good job”.

“I just want to remind you that it is urgent to have that foreign ministers and regional ministers meeting as soon as possible,” Kagame said, in reference to peace efforts in the region.

President Ruto was represented by Musalia Mudavadi, Prime Cabinet Secretary and Minister for Foreign Affairs while Burundi’s President Evariste Ndayishimiye was represented by the Vice-President Prosper Bazombanza. DRC President Felix Tshisekdi did not make his remarks.

President Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia said his country was excited to join the EAC adding that Mogadiashu would soon send MPS to the regional parliament.