East Africa

EAC Political Confederation Constitution: Ruto urges experts to deliver first draft by June 2024

NAIROBI-The President of Kenya Williams Ruto has urged the Committee of Experts tasked with drafting the Constitution for the proposed EAC Political Confederation to fast-track the process and have the first draft of constitution latest by the end of June 2024.

Ruto 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, adding that the citizens were well ahead of their national governments in as far as the integration process was concerned.

He said that East Africans wanted to live together and do business regardless of national boundaries and urged EAC Partner States should therefore endeavour to catch up with them and actualise 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, adding that the ongoing expansion of the Community would be an asset for the people of East Africa and Africa as a whole.

He 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.

He 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.

He urged Partner States 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.

He said that a borderless Africa would benefit from the prosperity that comes with integration, noting that integration would provide for 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 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 Nairobi region to conclude consultations in the country.

Justice Odoki informed the president 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 citizens wishes in terms of the need for a political integration Mr. President,” said Justice Odoki.

The chairperson 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 deputised 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 on 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 model Confederation and subsequently a Confederal Constitution in line with the principle of people-centred regional community, and; prepare the public in general to give their inputs into the draft Constitution once it has been drafted.


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