East Africa: EAC In-Tray - Appoint New SG, Judges, Plan for Economic Recovery

As Secretary-General of the East African Community, Liberat Mfumukeko, comes to the end of his term in March, Kenya is poised to take over the seat.

The East African Community Treaty stipulates the seat be on a rotational basis and each partner state has an opportunity to propose an office holder appointed at the Heads of State Summit, once every five years, for a five-year fixed non-renewable term.

The Secretary-General, appointed by the Summit, is the principal executive and accounting officer of the Community as well as the Secretary of the Summit.

The appointment of the sixth Secretary General to replace Mr Mfumukeko, is top on the agenda for the Heads of States Summit planned for February. Also crucial and an urgent matter for the Summit is the appointment of judges to the East African Court of Justice, the post-Covid-19 economic recovery plan and infrastructure development.

"We are planning to have the Council meeting maybe two or three weeks before the Summit meeting to discuss among other issues the impact of Covid-19 on the region's economy," said Nshuti Manasseh, Rwanda's Minister of State in charge of the EAC and the chairperson of the Council of Ministers.

"The Chair of Council and Summit are on a rotational basis, determined by the Summit Heads who in consultation determine how they are going to rotate that in a manner that is acceptable to all of them," said Adan Mohamed, Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for EAC and Regional Development.

CS Adan who declined to discuss the likely candidates from Kenya said the government was fully briefed about the matter and would deal with it at an appropriate time. "We want to make sure that we have the right leadership within the EAC at the Secretariat level and the Summit will support the most appropriate candidate from whichever country," he added.

Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is finishing his second term and whose country is the current rapporteur of the EAC, is also likely to take over from Rwanda's President Paul Kagame as the chairman of the EAC Heads of State Summit.

Priority for the EAC in 2021 includes holding the Council and the Heads of State Summit meetings to make crucial decisions on the secretariat, budget, appointment of judges, and infrastructure.

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