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EAC Political Confederation: Experts urged to have first draft of constitution by June 2024

Author: Koang Pal Chang | Published: Thursday, May 25, 2023

President William Ruto /FILE/State House

Kenyan President William Ruto urged the Committee of Experts tasked with drafting the Constitution for the proposed EAC Political Confederation to fast-track the process.

Dr Ruto says the first draft of the constitution should be ready by the end of June 2024.

The President said that East Africans have always lived together and would not wait for the Partner States to establish the confederation in order to continue with their lives.

He added that the citizens were well ahead of their national governments as far as the integration process was concerned.

President Ruto said that East Africans wanted to live together and do business regardless of national boundaries.

He urged the EAC Partner States should therefore endeavour to catch up with them and actualize the Political Confederation as fast as possible.

The Head of State said that the idea of a federation was conceived after independence in the early 1960s by the founding fathers of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

The Kenyan President pointed out that the ongoing expansion of the Community would be an asset for the people of East Africa and Africa as a whole.

President Ruto was speaking at the State House in Nairobi, Kenya when he received the Committee of Experts tasked with drafting the Constitution for the proposed EAC Political Confederation.

The committee, which is chaired by Uganda’s retired Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki, is currently collecting views from stakeholders and opinion leaders in Kenya through national consultative forums.

President Ruto pledged that the Government of Kenya would give US$1 million to the EAC Secretariat to support national consultations on Political Confederation being conducted by the committee.

The President also pledged to convince the other Partner States to also contribute so that the process of drafting the constitution is finished in time as directed by the Summit.

The president said that Partner States should not entertain the barriers occasioned by the boundaries created by the former colonial powers for their own imperial interests, instead urging Partner States to work together and collapse all the boundaries for the sake of integration in the region and beyond.

Dr Ruto cited prosperity for the region, strategic economy and security, and the fact that East Africans were peoples of the same origins as the major reasons why the region needs to integrate and embrace the unity of the region.

President Ruto said that a borderless Africa would benefit from the prosperity that comes with integration, noting that integration would provide a bigger market for the goods and services produced by the people of the region.

On his part, Justice Benjamin Odoki Chairperson of the Committee informed the President that the committee concluded stakeholders’ consultations in the Republic of Burundi and the Republic of Uganda.

Justice Odoki added that in Kenya, the committee had covered the entire countryside and was now left with the Nairobi region to conclude consultations in the country.

The Chairperson informed President Ruto that there had been very good ideas and recommendations that emerged from Kenyans during the consultations.

“I can confidently tell you that, we are trailing behind the citizen’s wishes in terms of the need for a political integration Mr. President,” said Justice Odoki.

Justice Odoki disclosed that the people they had interacted with in Kenya wanted the EAC Political Confederation in place in the shortest possible time.

The Political Federation is the ultimate pillar in the EAC integration process, being preceded by the Customs Union, Common Market, and Monetary Union in that order.

The Summit of EAC Heads of State in May 2017 adopted a Political Confederation as the transitional model to the Political Federation.

The Team of Experts was appointed by the Summit in February 2018 and is chaired by Justice Benjamin Odoki, retired Chief Justice of Uganda.

Justice Odoki is deputized by former Busia (Kenya) Senator and former AG Amos Wako, who is also a former Kenyan Attorney General.

The objectives of the National Consultations for the EAC Political Confederation are threefold:

Enhance awareness of the ongoing Constitution-making process for transforming the EAC into a Political Confederation;

Obtain stakeholders’ views on their interests and key issues to inform the drafting of a model Confederation and subsequently a Confederal Constitution in line with the principle of a people-centred regional community, and;

Prepare the public, in general, to give their input into the draft Constitution once it has been drafted.

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