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EAC postpones heads of state meeting, again

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Wednesday, November 20, 2019

EAC heads of state in a past summit | File photo

A meeting of the East African heads of state has once again been postponed due to absence of some member countries.

The summit, which was slated for November 30 in Arusha, Tanzania, has been cancelled due to a lack of quorum.

The East African Community is made up of six partner states, comprising of South Sudan, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

But the region has over the last two years engaged in trade dispute, especially between Uganda and Rwanda.

It has also struggled financially because some member countries, including South Sudan and Burundi have not been remitting their share into the regional budget.

The region’s fiscal year budget 2018/2019 is missing about $100 million due to the outstanding debt of member states.

Kenya and Tanzania, who have been remitting their shares, have partially withheld their payments to express their displeasure with the conduct of South Sudan and Burundi.

According to the EAC Secretariat, the low budget has slowed down the implementation of several programs.

These programs include strengthening common market, monetary union and strategizing on a political federation.

According to the East African Community media center, the 21st Ordinary Meeting of the Heads of State will take place early next year following a request by one of the Partner States unable to attend.

“The 21st Ordinary Meeting of the #EAC Heads of State Summit earlier planned for 30 November 2019 has been postponed to early 2020. This is in response to a request by one of the Partner States due to their unavailability on 30.11.19,” tweeted the economic bloc.

The regional leaders last met in February 2019.  Such a summit failed to take place twice last year after Burundi declined to send a representative.

The meeting often focuses on regional security, trade and the progress reports on the adoption of Political Confederation.

Meanwhile, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Monday launched the National Stakeholders Consultations to Draft the Constitution for the East African Community Political Confederation.

The Political Federation is the fourth and final pillar in the EAC integration process after the Customs Union, the Common Market and the East African Monetary Union.

A team of 18 Constitutional Experts and Legislators met in Entebbe to develop a Draft Constitution for consideration by the Heads of State.

President Museveni underscored that a Political Federation would guarantee the strategic security of smaller member countries of the Community against external threats.

Citizens of the region are expected to participate in the integration process.

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