East Africa: EAC Confederation Talks On in Burundi

Arusha — THE journey to an East African Community (EAC) political confederation is taking shape as experts are now engaged in consultations in Burundi.

The constitutional experts are holding national stakeholders consultations as they go forth in preparations to draft the EAC Political Confederation Constitution that is expected to get completed by 2022.

The EAC Secretariat says the consultations that started on Tuesday in Bujumbura, Gitega, Ngozi and Makamba were launched on Wednesday by President Pierre Nkurunziza and are being conducted under the leadership of Dr Benjamin Odoki, the Ugandan retired Chief Justice.

The exercise goes on until January 20th.

"The objective of the consultations is to obtain stakeholders' views on their interests and other key issues that will better inform the drafting of a model political confederation and subsequently a confederation constitution in line with the principle of a people-centred Community," said Ambassador Liberat Mfumukeko, the EAC Secretary General.

The national stakeholders' consultations are also expected to enhance awareness on the ongoing constitutional making process for transforming the EAC into a political confederation, as well as prepare the public in general to give their inputs into the draft constitution once it will be drafted.

"National Stakeholders' consultations will ensure participation of EAC citizens in the integration process and particularly the political federation pillar," said Ambassador Mfumukeko.

The drafting of the EAC political confederation constitution is being undertaken by a team of constitutional experts nominated by the EAC partner states.

The 18-member team is chaired by Justice Odoki. It will be passed through adoption by the EAC Summit that comprises presidents from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

The team of constitutional experts held the first National Stakeholders Consultations for drafting the EAC Political Confederation Constitution was held in Uganda in November 2018, the forum that was also served as the launch of the process.

The Political Federation is the fourth and ultimate pillar in the EAC integration process after the Customs Union, the Common Market and the East African Monetary Union.

In May 2017, the Summit of EAC Heads of State agreed on the Political Confederation as a transitional model to the Political Federation.

In February 2018, the Summit, through the Council of Ministers, constituted a team of 18 Constitutional Experts and Legislative Draftspersons to draft a Constitution for the Political Confederation. The team was tasked with developing a Draft Constitution for consideration by the Summit.

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