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EAC draft law for a single political unit on the way, but fears abound

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by nngu007, Apr 4, 2011.

  1. nngu007

    nngu007 JF-Expert Member

    Apr 4, 2011
    Joined: Aug 2, 2010
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    Posted Monday, April 4 2011

    The East African Community countries will soon have a common draft Constitution in readiness for the Political Federation expected some time in 2015.

    But first, the EAC must address the fears, concerns and challenges citizens have regarding a single political unit.
    The concept also clashes with some Constitutions such as Kenya's.

    In the event of a Political Federation, EAC members Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Kenya will be required to surrender a measure of their sovereignty.

    But the model of federation is yet to be agreed upon.

    The EAC Deputy Secretary General Beatrice Kiraso, told The EastAfrican in an exclusive interview that a report commissioned by the regional heads of state summit recommended that member countries take a major step towards the process of Constitution making.

    Ms Kiraso believes that answers to the fears and concerns that people have expressed towards a Political Federation can only be found in a draft constitution.

    "Up to now, people do not know which powers will be at the centre and which ones will be left at the state level. They do not know who will do what, and how the issues of land and the distribution will be handled," she said.

    However, Ms Kiraso did not wish to be dragged into how the Constitution making process will be conducted, for fear of pre-empting it, but suggested that it would be prudent to have a team that will first look at existing documents and Constitutions in the region.

    The East African Law Society came up with a draft six years ago.

    The EAC department of political affairs has also commissioned studies to examine different Political Federations in the world.

    Among the concerns is that countries in the region have either enacted new national Constitutions or are in the process of doing so.

    Jerry Okungu, a media practitioner expressed concerns that Kenya's new Constitution could be in conflict with the East African Political Federation.

    He said most Kenyans are preoccupied with operationalising their small states (counties) and might be diverted from the bigger picture of a regional political unit.

    Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni is a key proponent of Political Federation and his National Resistance Movement is the only political party within the EAC that has the regional Political Federation in its policies.

    President Museveni argues that if countries of East and Central Africa are to play a meaningful role in this era of globalisation, they must think about moving towards a political union.

    This he said would help them command respect on the global scene. The federation would also enhance their bargaining strength in multilateral institutions, as well as bilaterally.

    It was at the urging of President Museveni that East African leaders decided to fast track the establishment of the regional Political Federation.

    Fast tracking committee

    The EAC committee on fast tracking the Political Federation chaired by Kenya's Attorney General Amos Wako, presented their report to the 6th Summit of the Heads of State in November 2004.

    The committee suggested that the period between 2010 and 2012 be considered as the Consolidation Phase of the Federation of East Africa.

    It recommended that during this period the presidency rotate among sitting presidents of the partner states.

    It further suggested that an enlarged Federal Parliament be elected along the lines of the method used in electing the current East African Legislative Assembly or as may be recommended by the Constitutional Commission.