The East African Community has kicked off the process of forming a political federation by appointing a 12-member Committee of Experts to draft a regional constitution.
This is in line with a directive by the region’s heads of state to the Council of Ministers, asking it to begin drafting laws that will pave the way for the achievement of the last pillar of East African integration.
Julius Maganda, Uganda's EAC Minister and chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers, said each partner state has appointed two members to the CoE to conduct research, consultations and eventually draft the East African Community Constitution by 2021.
The CoE is chaired by Uganda’s Benjamin Odoki and has three years to complete the drafting of the laws.
The draft will be reviewed over a year before it is submitted to the Heads of State Summit for signing. It is expected to be promulgated by 2023.
According to Mr Maganda, the Council prefers a confederation to a federation initially, so as to allow the partner states to harmonise their systems before surrendering to a federation.
The difference between a confederation and a federation is that membership of a confederation is voluntary.
One president under one constitution
When the political federation comes into force, under one president, partner states’ constitutions will become subordinate to the regional Constitution.
Currently, the Treaty for the establishment of the EAC is subordinate to the partner states’ Constitutions.