Monday, 10 February 2014

Way forward to EAC federation

Arusha. The East African Community (EAC) partner states will have to amend their constitutions to allow for the envisaged political federation in the bloc, experts have recommended.
At the same time, they want efforts made to address fears, concerns and challenges which have dogged the process since it was set in motion in 2004 following recommendations by the Wako team which wanted it fast-tracked.
A report presented to the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) session in Kampala recently suggested the legitimate and people-centred political federation would only be realised through consensus by all parties. It is proposed that the Federal State be constituted by a two-tier structure composed of the Federal and Constituent States.
The Federal State will be responsible for Federal matters while the Constituent States will remain autonomous in matters that do not fall within the Federal competence. The report, whose copy was availed to The Citizen in Arusha, proposed that the Federal State be composed of a Federal executive, Federal Legislature and a Federal Judiciary.
The Federal Legislature is proposed to be bicameral with the envisaged Senate composed of equal representation from the Constituent States which are Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda.
The Federal State is proposed to have a Presidential system of government with a president and vice president, added the experts in a report by Eala’s Committee on Legal, Rules and Privileges on Good Governance and status of EA Political Federation’.
However, they insisted that the agreed structure of the political federation will be negotiated and subjected to a referendum by the 130 million people of the five partner states.
The process would require that a Treaty for establishing the East Africa Political Federation will have to be developed and negotiated by the EAC member countries.
Although the powers and functions proposed for the Federal Government will be informed by the international practice,the experts did not rule out them colliding with those of the Constituent States.
“The draft model structure of the East African Political Federation appreciates that in some areas there will be concurrent competencies between the Federal and Constituent States,” the report said.
Defence and security, foreign affairs and international trade, immigration, infrastructure development and Federal public service, among others will be under the Federal government while local government, land, education, health and agriculture, will be among the dockets to fall under the Constitute States.
Another report containing comments from the partner states on the action plan and model structure of the EAC Political Federation was tabled before the Heads of State Summit in Kampala, Uganda last November.