- Mathuki said Kenyan citizens have joined their counterparts from other East African member states in pushing for the removal of border boundaries among respective countries.
East African Community secretary general Peter Mathuki has said there is a need to have a borderless community.
Mathuki said Kenyan citizens have joined their counterparts from other East African member states in pushing for the removal of border boundaries among respective countries.
“What East Africans are saying is that they want to see a borderless East Africa so that they be able to move from one part of East Africa to the other without challenges and impediments,” Mathuki said.
He addressed the press as they concluded the National Consultations on Drafting the Constitution for the East African Community political confederation meeting at Maanzoni Lodge in Machakos County on Sunday.
Mathuki said the consultations commenced in the Republic of Kenya on May 8, 2023, in Mombasa.
Mathuki said they had finalized the process in Kenya, Burundi and Uganda and were yet to conduct the same in other EAC countries including Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Southern Sudan.
“The purpose of this exercise is to involve people of East Africa and East African community on what they want about EAC and ensure that their views are included in our reports,” Mathuki said.
He said they had captured the citizens’ views so that the reports be informed by what people were saying.
Mathuki said Kenyans want to be allowed to use their national identification cards to traverse countries, and members of the East African Community as opposed to having passports.
“This is something that we have started in some countries. We are moving from Kenya to Uganda or Rwanda using our national identification cards, and this is something which is coming up from the people,” he said.
“They also say they want to see structures; a stronger community that will be able to compete with other regional community blocks in the world,” Mathuki said.
He said that would ensure security in the region stating that the stronger the community, the more secure countries were in the region.
Mathuki said the citizens also proposed the creation of ambassadorial positions from the East African Community just like those abroad.
“There should be ambassadors in the EAC structure communicating the same policies about EAC,” he said.
He said citizens also wanted a common currency.
“It’s possible to have a common currency. We have seen it happening in ECOWAS. Why can’t we have a common currency even if it’s running parallel with our national currencies and then when it’s fully acceptable, they will be faced out? ” Mathuki said.
Mathuki said consultations took place in all parts of the country including; Mombasa, Kisumu, Kakamega, Eldoret, Nyeri, Embu, Garissa and Nairobi.
He said a team of experts met President William Ruto who gave his views as a citizen of EAC and also the head of state.
“The views that are being gathered in this process will form the basis of having a constitution of the East African confederation which will give credibility to the document since they will be views picked from residents of East Africa from across all partner states,” Mathuki said.
“That’s why we are making it people-centred to ensure that we communicate. In fact, as we make these consultations, the EAC will open an electronic platform where we will continue receiving views from citizens through social media, website, so that this doesn’t become the end, but continuous,” Mathuki said.
Mathuki said the EAC heads of state summit held in 2017 adopted a political confederation looking at the four pillars of ‘our community’; customs union, movement of goods, common market and movement of people and services.
He said most of the Kenyans’ views on the document were similar to those of citizens from Burundi and Uganda.
“If you compare what’s happening in Burundi and Uganda where we had concentrated, citizens are talking about the same thing; principles of equality and mutual respect, movement of goods and cross border issues, common IDs. These are the issues that are coming from East African Community,” Mathuki said.