- The three countries of the East African Community (EAC) – Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, today began national consultative processes on fast-tracking the East African Political Federation in their respective countries.
In the Kenyan capital Nairobi, President Mwai Kibaki launched his country's national consultative process. He told his audience that the campaign will enable the people to make an informed choice on the political federation.
The process, which is to be implemented simultaneously in the three member countries, takes six months and is described as a turning point in the region's move to establish political federation.
Before the launching, EAC secretary-general Juma Mwapachu said the process "marked the beginning of a process to wipe out colonial and imperial legacy."
However, the Kenyan President said by nature, federation is a complex matter that involves important issues of sovereignty, which is why it is important for the subject to be adequately discussed and appreciated by a broad spectrum of people of East Africa.
He believes that the sovereignty of individual states is derived from the will and self-determination of the people. "It is indeed expected that the process we are launching today will be wide and comprehensive enough so that the people fully understand the benefits and challenges of a political federation," he said.
Mr Kibaki said the East African Community secretariat would provide a common framework and methodology that was to provide guidelines to ensure that all the people of the region deliver their verdict on the basis of a common set of issues and questions.
He said East Africans would better realise and sustain their development goals easily if they came together, especially at a time when the challenges of globalisation called for greater cooperation between countries. He added that the formation of regional economic and political blocs was "imperative for our social and economic development."
The three countries' failed in their attempts to federate in 1977 when their presidents walked out of the regional bloc because of their "irreconcilable ideological inclinations," as Tanzania was a socialist state while Uganda and Kenya were capitalist, both with sound economic bases.
If the process has been given public blessing, EAC will become a common market in 2008, introduce a common currency and become a federation in 2010.
The presidency of the federation would rotate within the member nations. But the longest serving president would be first given the mantle to lead. President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, who is the longest serving president of EAC, is accused of launching a campaign to become the first regional president.
After the rotation of presidency in the three countries, first democratic elections would be held in 2013.
This plan might be revised if Rwanda and Burundi were to join the bloc later this year, as has been envisaged.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.