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Money talks: Kenya pushes for veto power in EAC

Sunday October 15 2023
eacbudget

Burundi minister and current EAC Council of Ministers chair Ezechiel Nibigira holds the 2023/2024 Budget briefcase flanked by bloc’s Secretary General Peter Mathuki in Arusha, Tanzania on June 13, 2023. PHOTO| MOSES HAVYARIMANA | NMG

By SAMWEL OWINO

A Kenyan parliamentary committee has called for a review of East African Community (EAC) Treaty in order to grant veto powers to the highest contributing partner states.

In a report tabled in the Parliament of Kenya, the Committee on Regional Integration recommends a review of the EAC Treaty to allow partner states’ contributions be based on their ability to pay and those who pay more to have veto powers. It also called on the founding partner states of EAC to consider paying contributions due for South Sudan and Burundi on the big brother spirit.

“The founding partner states could also consider paying contributions due for South Sudan and Burundi on the big brother basis and review the EAC Treaty to allow partner states’ contributions to be based on the ability to pay and retention of veto power by the highest paying partner states,” reads the report of the committee chaired by Kipipiri MP Wanjiku Muhia.

Read: Why Ruto wants change in EAC treaty

“The current financial shortages occasioned by delayed partner state contributions and dwindling development partner support continue to adversely affect the performance of all EAC institutions thus frustrating the implementation of key projects and programmes meant to uplift the lives of East Africans, " reads the report.

EAC is a regional bloc of seven members — Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They have equal voting rights and mostly make decisions via consensus and rotational policy, rather than secret ballot.

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Yet, the contribution share for membership fees has been problematic for some.

South Sudan, which joined the bloc in 2016, for instance, has been struggling financially to meet its obligation in the community.

Read: South Sudan fails to pull its weight in EAC

Article 146 of the EAC Treaty says that the summit may suspend a member state from taking part in the activities of the community if it fails to observe and fulfil the fundamental principles and objectives of the treaty, including failure to meet financial commitments within a period of 18 months.

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