By Jane Nambi
Tanzania and Burundi have been sidelined by Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda who have been meeting and discussing issues concerning the East African Community. However, Tanzania has come out and warned against the act.
President Yoweri Museveni, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame have been meeting but has not been inviting Tanzania and Burundi as they discussed EAC related issues. The meetings took place in June and August and the ambitious infrastructure developments and strategies for fast-tracking the federation. During the meeting, Uganda’s President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was tasked to spearhead railway development and fast-tracking the federation. Kenyatta was assigned to spearhead electricity generation and distribution, as well as oil pipeline development while Kagame was tasked with issues of customs, a single tourist visa, and an East African Community e-identity card.
Tanzania’s High Commissioner to Uganda, Dr. Ladislaus Komba, predicted doom for the East Africa Community if the trend continues. “This may cause disturbance and may lead to problems which we had earlier. We have to learn from the past by appreciating what led to the 1970s experience so that we avoid making the same mistakes,” he said.
EAC first collapsed in 1977 due to disagreements between Ugandn and Tanzania and Kenya and Tanzania.
Althoug decisions were reached, Tanzania disagrees that they are EAC related. “The decision that involves the isolation of us (Tanzania/Burundi) has not been done under the EAC framework because the meetings have not been organised by the EAC secretariat, which is mandated to do so,” Komba said.
However, the EAC treaty allows any three countries to form a quorum and reach a trilateral arrangement while other members catch up. Komba however argues that “the only concern we have is them making decisions that affect the other member states.”
“Any decision you make on the customs territory will have an impact on the other member states. I know that the summit at some stage has pronounced itself about this matter but before we monitor its progress, they have established something different, why?” Komba said.