Leaders of the East African Community have renewed calls to expedite the proposed federation of the member states into a single sovereign Government.
Founded in 1967 for socio-economic and political reasons, the EAC is an intergovernmental organization composed of seven in the Great Lakes region of East Africa. They include the Democratic Republic of the Congo – DRC, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Uganda
Prof Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba, a keynote speaker challenged President Yoweri Museveni as the eldest leader of the bloc to bestow his and ensure he convinces his peers to embrace the integration of the EAC.
The alliance that first collapsed a decade later in 1967, and was revived in July 2000.
Martin Karoli Ngoga, the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly ( EALA) a Rwandan lawyer and politician observed that currently, the bloc has all the requisite infrastructure to drive its ambitious political agenda by rallying the critical masses of leaders to achieve the purpose.
President Yoweri Museveni reiterated the primary goals and objectives for the establishment of EA State which included economic prosperity of the citizens and strategic security reasons for sustainable peace.
The President reminded the delegates that a top-level meeting between the former Presidents that included Julius Kambarage Nyerere of Tanzania, Uganda’s Apollo Milton Obote, and Jomo Kinyatta of Kenya in 1963 nearly achieved the federation but failed.
He argued that the formation of the sovereign EA is long overdue and it’s the reason that political anarchies in neighbouring Burundi, the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, the reign of terror of Iddi Amin in Uganda, including instabilities in DRC and South Sudan could not be averted.
The EAC integration process is anchored on four pillars that include; the customs union, the common market, the monetary union and the political federation but little progress have tangibly been achieved.
In 2010, the EAC launched its common market for goods, labour, and capital within the region, intending to create a common currency and eventually a full political federation.
In 2013, a protocol was signed outlining their plans for launching a monetary union within 10 years. In September 2018 a committee was formed to begin the process of drafting a regional constitution.
The current population of Eastern Africa is 301 million.