Our fathers and mothers who art in Arusha, deliver us from evil

Sunday December 24 2023

A photo illustration. PHOTO | NMG


From Mogadishu to Kinshasa, Juba to Dodoma, as we celebrate this festive season and apprehensively open a fresh chapter of leadership for our East African Community, I present my New Year’s prayer on behalf of the 350 million of us, to:

Our elected Fathers and Mothers, who art in Arusha;

Hallowed be thy Honourable title, which some of you want to be addressed by even after you leave office;

Thy partisan constituencies who selected you after mostly losing elections for your national parliaments come;

Thy will to promote regional integration be done with dignity by leveraging our huge, collective natural resources and numbers to industrialise and employ our youth instead of them going to work abroad, yet there is so much work to be done at home, while you continue begging for or accepting funding from the very external forces that we want to be liberated from;

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Give us this day, our promised free trade without selfish non-tariff barriers, and our free movement of persons using only our national IDs, as you make it more realistic by instituting the overdue single airspace so that an air ticket between our capitals doesn’t cost like a ticket to Dubai, just in case you have forgotten the exorbitant regional airfares we pay while yours are paid for by us taxpayers and donors who may not always want the EAC to become independent from them;

And forgive us our petty trade, which you call smuggling, and our shyness that stops us from reminding you that you were sent to Arusha to represent our interests primarily and not for your personal aggrandisement;

As we forgive those who block our people near the borders from interacting with their kinsfolk across to exchange their petty merchandise, and who extort money from us at official entry points;

And lead us not into avoidable conflicts with our brothers and sisters in the constituent states of the Community, that can even escalate into armed warfare;

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But deliver us from evil designs against our communities that share common languages but find themselves in different states because of the colonial borders that you are powerless to change until we finally federate into one country;

For thine is the power, the good salaries and allowances;

For every five years,