He said currently, each of the five member states – Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda – has its own fertiliser and seed policies, which made it difficult for the regional organisation to implement some projects due to lack of harmonisation.
Dar es Salaam/ Kampala. First it was “the coalition of the willing”, involving Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya; now it is the “federation of the willing” which has also side-lined Tanzania in the latest bid to fast-track the proposed East African Community political federation.
Yesterday in Kampala Uganda, four EAC member countries, namely Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi met to discuss the draft of the constitution that would govern the federation.
The two-day forum is expected to reach a consensus on the form, structure as well as the fundamental principles of the roadmap for the envisaged unity. The high-level gathering was in adherence to a directive issued by the first Infrastructure Summit held in Entebbe on 25 June 2013, where Heads of State of Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda agreed to set up a committee that would fast-track the EA political federation by developing a draft constitution.
In this meeting, Tanzania wasn’t invited in what was seen as a move to isolate it ahead of the quick march towards a political federation.
Even Burundi, which had earlier refused to join Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, has now joined “the coalition of the willing” leaving, Tanzania in the cold.
Opening the meeting, which brought together constitution making experts from the four countries, Uganda’s minister for Internal Affairs, General Aronda Nyakairima said” “This political process comes in the backdrop of a number of historical initiatives, as informed by the debate on the importance of the federation. And this idea is not new, on 10th May 1964 in Dar es Salam, during the meeting Mzee Nyerere stated: it is better that two countries should federate now, if three cannot.’’
The Internal minister who also doubles as the fast tracking project chair told delegates: “The necessity and the urgency of the work before us, does remind me of one man’s great wisdom, ‘Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.”
At the end of the meeting, experts from the four countries are expected to come up with a framework of the proposed political federation, as guided by the work plan set during the Ministerial Session on the Committee of Fast Tracking Political Federation, held on September 12, in Kampala.
The technical team, according to details gathered by The Citizen, has been appointed to draft an East African Federation Constitution.
Defend the move, the Ugandan minister said: “Probably this long-standing cooperation history and its benefits to the region is inspired by Mzee Mwalimu Julius Nyerere in the 1960s, when he proposed that the independence of Tanganyika be delayed until Kenya and Uganda got independent, so that together they could form a federation on simultaneous attainment of independence.”
Indeed, by 1963, three countries had attained their independence and had declared the establishment of an East African Federation, which came into being by the Treaty of June 1967, he said adding:
“This treaty established joint ownership and operation of services managed by the East African Railways and Harbours; the East African Airways; the East African Posts and Telecommunications; the Inter-University Council for East Africa; and the East African Currency Board. There was also the Court of Appeal for East Africa and the East African Legislative Assembly.”