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The East African : Nov 24th 2014
The EastAfrican NEWS NOVEMBER 22-28,2014 5 During the Summit, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is the current EAC chair, is expected to pass the baton of the leadership to his Tanzanian counterpart Jakaya Kikwete. Also on the agenda are Modalities on Sustainable Financing Mechanisms for the East African Community. The EAC Secretariat’s proposal to impose a one per cent import levy on goods coming into the region from countries outside the bloc was rejected last year, as it was felt it would sharply increase the cost of goods and doing business. Partner states were therefore directed to consult some more and present their proposals to the EAC heads for a final decision. This issue is expected to come up at the eration at the same time or on the principle of variable geometry, which allows member countries to join the federation at different times and stages. The admission of new mem- bers to the political union is also another matter to be decided on. It will be known after the Heads of State Summit whether the presidents will go with the partner states’ proposal to have a political federation that comes into being instantly or the one that favours a gradual and incremental process that will culminate in a full-fledged political federation. Uganda has proposed that the political federation take a transition period of five years to enable the development of federal institutions, but the other four partner states are asking for a Left to right: Presidents Pierre Nkurunziza, Jakaya Kikwete, Uhuru Kenyatta, Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame at the 15th Ordinary Summit of The East African Community Heads of State in Kampala last year. Picture: File longer period, to be determined later, as part of the phased rollout that will allow for the building of strong institutions, confidence and mutual trust among member states. Member states will also know whether they will have to lose their sovereignty once a political federation is in place as proposed by Uganda, or whether they will retain some level of sovereignty. The fear of loss of national identity and the political power that goes with decision-making could be another headache. Memories of the collapse of the initial Community in 1977 following political differences among the three leaders and disputes over shared resources still lingers, raising apprehensions about political integration. Then there is the issue of dis- parate constitutions, with some members having done away with the presidential term limit or being in the process of doing so. govt o∞cials to get tende≥s working for institutions in those countries in order to obtain printing contracts and to ensure repeat business in the future,” state court documents filed by prosecutor Mark Bryant-Heron. In Kenya, the court documents reveal, the UK firm paid $545,091 to officials of the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) to win the tender for printing electoral materials for the 2010 referendum and two by-elections. Their agent in Kenya was Trevy James Oyombra. In Mauritania, $76,182.83 was alleged- ly paid to an official at the Ministry of the Interior, while $32,000 was paid to the firm’s agent in Somaliland as bribes to officials of the National Electoral Commission to supply election materials. In Ghana, the contracts had a value of $426,140. From that sum, $38,403 was allegedly paid to Bill Amarteifio, the company’s agent in Ghana, and $19,344 to Elliot Agyare, who had instructions to pay bribes to West African Examinations Council (WAEC) officials between January and September 2009. Nicholas Smith, Timothy Forrester and S&O are charged with arranging to pay bribes to officials at the Ministry of the Interior in Mauritania in respect of a contract to print ballot papers. S&O’s agent in Mauritania was Karim Reaich. The contracts were valued at $ 902,069.75. Of that amount, the UK firm allegedly agreed to pay $76,182.83 to the Secretary-General Mohamed El Hadi Macina. In Somaliland, the contract for election materials was $1 million, and $32,000 was allegedly given to Abdi Omar, who in turn paid $12,314 to corrupt officials via a third party. In Kenya, those adversely mentioned are the IEBC chairman Issack Hassan, former chief executive of the commission James Oswago, current Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir, who was a senior manager with the defunct Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) and Paul Wasanga, the former Kenya National Examinations Council chief executive. All have denied the allegations and accused Mr Oyombra of fleecing his employer through fabrications. But John Githongo, the former anticorruption permanent secretary, who is TURN TO PAGE 9 A FULL PLATE FOR THE HEADS OF STATE Nairobi meeting. Another proposal that is expected to be tabled is one that requires member states to contribute equal amounts to the first half of the budget, and then distribute the other half under the assessed contribution method, based on the GDP or intra-EAC exports, or both. This is meant to finance the Secretariat’s operations and reduce reliance on donor funding. Negotiations for the admission of South Sudan into the East African Community will also be on the agenda. The EAC presidents, during their Extraordinary Heads of State Summit in Arusha in April, agreed to postpone the discussions on the request by Experts have expressed concern about the divergence in governance and democratic practices, accountability, respect for human rights and access to justice. Dr Ben Sihanya, an interna- tional law lecturer at the University of Nairobi, said that sovereignty will not be a factor because it is the people who want a region that is economically integrated. “So long as partner states are members of the EAC, Afri- He noted that it would be diffi- South Sudan after Juba asked for a deferral of the process to allow for national consultations and preparations. South Sudan is embroiled in a political conflict that has led to fighting between government forces and those loyal to former vice-presidentturned-rebel Riek Machar. The other issues on the agenda are the EAC Institutional Review; progress towards the establishment of a OneArea Network for East Africa; verification of the application of the Federal Republic of Somalia to join the EAC; and implementation of the directive of the Summit on extension of the jurisdiction of the East African Court of Justice. cult to achieve a political federation when national institutions are not being respected. The EAC partners have how- ever agreed and adopted a draft protocol on good governance seeking to push for democratic elections and peaceful transition, potentially saving the region from recurring political instability. They have agreed to put in place mechanisms for the appointment of an electoral management team to prevent bungled elections. Characterised by controversy Dr Sihanya argues that so long as elections in Kenya and Uganda — the two countries that are supposed to provide leadership — continue to be characterised by controversy, it will be difficult for others to buy into the idea of political federation. The EAC political federation is can Union and United Nations, they have already ceded a portion of their sovereignty. But I believe that the citizens of East Africa are more concerned with a strong Customs Union than a political federation,” said Dr Sihanya. He is concerned that while most of the partner states have adopted or are in the process of adopting progressive constitutions, the challenge is that some countries do not obey their constitutions and institutions. the fourth and last pillar of the EAC integration, which aims at integrating the people of the region in all aspects of life. The Customs Union, Common Market Protocol and the Monetary Union, which was signed last year by the Heads of State, are under implementation. However since its signing, only Rwanda and Tanzania have ratified the Monetary Union Protocol for implementation. Kenya, Uganda and Burundi are still in the process of ratifying it.
Nov 17th 2014
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