- People in East African region have high expectations in EALA under the current leadership.
- They expect good governance with effectiveness and efficiency where process and institutions produce results that meet their needs.
It is noteworthy to see the seed sowed by our liberators in 1967 as the East African Community grows to vivacious economic bloc. However, there is a missing link between the political elite and the masses when it comes to matters of EAC and the imminent future full federation.
There has been lack of civic education to sensitise the local populace from respective countries about the East African Federation project. Therefore, we are likely to maintain the EAC of superstructure political elite, while the substructure local masses remain mere spectators.
For example, if the common person in Kenya's country side lacks information about polices of his or her own government, how then will he or she easily access information about EAC integration whose decisions and polices are made in Arusha?
There is information deficit regarding the benefits of having an EAC integration and the risks involved. So, whose integration and federation project is EAC? East African Integration should be people's project whose full and active participation will sustainably make regional Integration a viable project.
Political leaders have statutory obligations to explain how an ordinary person in Turkana (Kenya), Morogoro (Tanzania), Kanungu (Uganda), Gisenyi (Rwanda) and Kibitoki (Burundi) will benefit from East African integration. Individual governments should set aside funds for civic education of the local population in the region about the need for the East African integration.
Individual governments within East African region need to guide the local farmers about the most traded agricultural commodities basing on the market surveys so that the farmers can adequately and profitably respond to the demand in a sustainable manner.
Though an ideal political union is yet to be realised anywhere in Africa, I beg to argue that regional integration has born more fruit elsewhere than in East Africa. For instance, it is shameful that Migingo Island remains bone of contention between Kenya and Uganda when we have EALA legislatures reaping from their respective government coffers that are funded by tax payers.
Governments must facilitate this effort to ensure that there is improved household income and food security in East African region. This will make East African integration project relevant to the grassroots people.
Therefore EALA should enhance its efforts in advocating for one East African bloc, one economy that favours domestic investments as well as foreign and joint venture investments, one people, and one political leadership.
EALA should work hard to harmonise labour laws and employment policies so that there is free movement of labour force, goods and services within the region.
East African Integration should be perceived in a broad and long-term perspective. EALA must ensure that EAC lives beyond the current leaders by making impartial and transparent recommendations to the council in the interest of the East African peoples. This will guarantee continuity of East African Integration without making it a project of the political elite.
Finally, people in East African region have high expectations in EALA under the current leadership. People expect good governance with effectiveness and efficiency where process and institutions produce results that meet their needs.
Therefore, there is need for leaders to make good use of resources at their disposal so that benefits can trickle down to the electorate. In this way East African integration will translate into people's project. Let us all rally behind East African Integration for the common good of the people in the region.
A call of cooperation always implies that member states in the particular region have realised the need to work together since they cannot make it individually. But to realise these goals there is need for dedication and sincerity and total respect for rules and principles that guide the organisation. That is what the EAC lack.
Advocate of the High Court of Kenya