National consultations for Drafting the Constitution for the EAC Political Confederation concludes in Kenya
East African Community Secretariat, Arusha, Tanzania, 30th May, 2023: National consultations for Drafting the Constitution for the proposed East African Community (EAC) Political Confederation concluded in Machakos County, Kenya over the weekend.
The 20-day consultations launched in Mombasa on 9th May, 2023 saw the Committee of Constitutional Experts for Drafting the EAC Political Federation Constitution hold consultations with civil society, local leaders, opinion leaders and the business community, among other stakeholders, to seek their views on what kind of a Political Confederation they would desire for the EAC.
The consultations were done in various areas across the country including Kisumu, Kakamega, Eldoret, Nakuru, Nyeri, Embu, Garissa and Nairobi.
The objectives of the national onsultations are to 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 will be drafted.
Kenya was the third Partner State where national consultations were conducted after Burundi in January 2020 and Uganda in April 2021.
Speaking during a media briefing held after the conclusion of the consultations, EAC Secretary General Hon. (Dr) Peter Mathuki said the views gathered during the consultations will not only form the basis of drafting and promulgating the Constitution for the EAC Confederation, but also lend credibility and legitimacy to the process and the Constitution itself.
The Secretary General told journalist that the 18th Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State held in 2017 adopted a Political Confederation as a transitional model to the EAC Political Federation.
“These consultations are therefore crucial for the Experts to gather the views of people and propose to Summit a model of the Political Confederation,” said Dr. Mathuki.
Dr. Mathuki said that some of the issues recommended by the different stakeholders during the consultations to be included in the proposed Political Confederation were: the elimination of borders to allow complete free movement, residency and trade; a common EAC identity document, and; the Confederation to create structures to handle cross-border security.
Other proposals were: a common foreign policy, for instance, an EAC Ambassador for all foreign missions like the EU Ambassador; a common currency to facilitate trade and deepen integration, and; clear levels of decision making for the Confederal and National Governments.
“I look forward to the model to be proposed from these views after all Partner States have contributed their opinions,” said the Secretary General.
On his part, Chairperson of the Committee of Experts, Justice (Rtd.) Benjamin Odoki, said that the Committee managed to interact with the representatives of County Governments, private sector, industry, civil society, youth, women, people with disabilities, political leaders, the clergy and academia, amongst other stakeholders.
Justice Odoki said that at the national level, the Committee received ideas and recommendations from the President of Kenya, H.E. Dr. William Samoei Ruto, Parliament, the Judiciary, constitutional commissions, political parties and various ministries.
“We have listened to Kenyans express challenges with the current configuration of the EAC which, according to many, make them unable to realise the benefits they have anticipated from the integration,” said Justice Odoki.
Justice Odoki disclosed to the media that Kenya had expressed urgent need for a political confederation of East Africa to give meaning to the integration.
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
The Political Federation is the ultimate stage 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 Busia (Kenya) Senator Amos Wako, who is also a former Kenyan Attorney General.
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The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of seven Partner States, comprising the Republic of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Kenya, the Republic of Rwanda, the Republic of South Sudan, the Republic of Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
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