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Kenyatta takes charge of East African Community

Kenyatta chaired today’s EAC session. PHOTOS: KENYA PRESIDENCY

Nairobi, Kenya | THE INDEPENDENT  & AGENCIES | Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday committed to ensure a more united and prosperous East African Community (EAC) as he took over the chairmanship of the regional bloc.

Kenyatta assured that he will spare no effort towards the realization of the shared aspirations that gave rebirth to the community 20 years ago.

“Thank you for showing confidence, faith and trust in me. I promise to do all I can to take our region to greater heights,” the President said.

President Kenyatta spoke when he addressed the 21st Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State held virtually due to Covid-19 after taking over the chairmanship from Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame. (See communique bottom)

The summit, chaired by President Kenyatta, saw Dr Peter Mutuku Mathuki of Kenya sworn in as the new EAC Secretary General for a five-year non-renewable term with effect from 25th April 2021. Dr Mathuki took over from Amb Libérat Mfumukeko of Burundi whose term is ending.

The summit also witnessed the appointment of six new Judges of the East African Court of Justice. Justice Yohane Bakobora Masara, Justice Richard Wabwire Wejuli, Justice Richard Muhumuza are Judges to the court’s First Instance Division with effect with from 27 February, 2021 while Justice Nestor Kayobera, Lady Justice Anita Mugeni and Justice Kathurima M’inoti are  Judges to Appellate Division.

The new EAC chairman paid glowing tribute to the late former President Daniel Arap Moi and the late former President Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania, acknowledging the role they played together with President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda in the rebirth of EAC 20 years ago.

The Kenyan Head of State also took the opportunity to outline his vision for the region, saying he will focus on strengthening of partnerships to enhance intra-EAC connectivity and ensuring sustainable implementation of projects and programs in productive sectors.

“It is desirable that the objectives of the Customs Union, Common Market and Monetary Union; and easier cross-border movement of goods, people and services be realized,” President Kenyatta said.

He emphasized the need for partner states to harmonize their commitment on free movement of people, workers and services as envisaged in the region’s common market protocol.

Dr Peter Mutuku Mathuki of Kenya sworn in as the new EAC Secretary General

In this regard, President Kenyatta announced Kenya’s decision to remove visa requirement for South Sudanese nationals visiting the country as an act of reciprocity.

Kagame hands over

Speaking as he handed over to President Kenyatta, President Kagame congratulated President Kenyatta on his assumption of the chairmanship of the EAC and welcomed Dr Mathuki as the new EAC Secretary General.

Other speakers included President Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi and President Museveni of Uganda while the speech of host President John Magufuli was read by Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

EAMI date set

Earlier, the East African Community Council of Ministers designated 1st July, 2021 as the date for the coming into being of the East African Monetary Institute (EAMI), the precursor to the East African Central Bank.

The operationalization of the EAMI effectively sets the EAC on a journey towards the single currency by 2024 as envisaged in the East African Monetary Union Protocol.

The Council at its 40th meeting further directed the EAC Secretariat to convene a Meeting of the Sectoral Council of Finance and Economic Affairs to develop an institutional structure for the EAMI by 30th September, 2021.

The Ministers also directed the Secretariat to initiate the process of identifying the Institute’s host Partner State, in accordance with the EAC procedures.

The Council directed the Partner State that will host EAMI to cover office rent, office equipment, utilities and other support for the first two years.

The EAMI is a transitional mechanism to the East African Central Bank that will issue the single currency that is expected to be in place by the year 2024.

On the proposed mainstreaming of the East African Development Bank (EADB) into the EAC structure, the Council urged the Bank’s Governing Council to consider the EAC development plans while setting the bank’s priorities.

On ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the Council urged the Republic of Burundi, the Republic of South Sudan and the United Republic of Tanzania to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) by 30th June, 2021.

As at 21st January 2021, 36 African countries, including Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, had ratified the AfCFTA Agreement.

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COMMUNIQUÉ OF THE

21ST ORDINARY SUMMIT OF THE EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY HEADS OF STATE

 

1.  THE EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY HEADS OF STATE, THEIR EXCELLENCIES PRESIDENT PAUL KAGAME OF THE REPUBLIC OF RWANDA; PRESIDENT UHURU KENYATTA OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA; PRESIDENT ÉVARISTE NDAYISHIMIYE OF THE REPUBLIC OF BURUNDI; PRESIDENT SALVA KIIR MAYARDIT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN; PRESIDENT YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA; HER EXCELLENCY SAMIA SULUHU HASSAN REPRESENTING PRESIDENT DR. JOHN POMBE JOSEPH MAGUFULI OF THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA HELD THE 21ST ORDINARY SUMMIT OF THE EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY HEADS OF STATE VIA VIDEO CONFERENCE ON 27TH FEBRUARY, 2021. THE HEADS OF STATE MET IN A WARM AND CORDIAL ATMOSPHERE.

2.  THE SUMMIT RECEIVED THE PROGRESS REPORT OF THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS FOR THE PERIOD FEBRUARY 2019 TO FEBRUARY 2021 AND COMMENDED THE COUNCIL FOR THE PROGRESS MADE IN IMPLEMENTING THE PROGRAMMES AND PROJECTS OF THE COMMUNITY.

3.  THE SUMMIT FURTHER CONSIDERED A REPORT OF THE COUNCIL ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF PREVIOUS DECISIONS AND DIRECTIVES OF THE SUMMIT AND DIRECTED THE COUNCIL TO IMPLEMENT ALL OUTSTANDING DECISIONS AND DIRECTIVES AND REPORT TO THE 22ND

4.  THE SUMMIT RECEIVED A PROGRESS REPORT ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE EAST AFRICAN POLITICAL CONFEDERATION AND DIRECTED THE COUNCIL TO EXPEDITE THE CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROCESS.

5.  THE SUMMIT CONSIDERED A REPORT ON THE STATUS OF IMPLEMENTATION OF ITS DIRECTIVE TO UNDERTAKE A STUDY ON THE MODALITIES OF INCLUDING FRENCH AS A LANGUAGE OF THE COMMUNITY, IN ADDITION TO ENGLISH AND KISWAHILI AND ADOPTED ENGLISH, FRENCH AND KISWAHILI AS OFFICIAL LANGUAGES OF THE COMMUNITY AND DIRECTED THE COUNCIL TO EXPEDITE THE IMPLEMENTATION MODALITIES OF THE DIRECTIVE.

6.  THE SUMMIT CONSIDERED A REPORT ON THE ROADMAP FOR THE ACCELERATED INTEGRATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN INTO THE EAC AND DIRECTED THE COUNCIL TO CONCLUDE THE PROCESS.

7.  THE SUMMIT NOTED THAT THE VERIFICATION EXERCISE FOR THE ADMISSION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF SOMALIA INTO THE EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY HAD NOT BEEN UNDERTAKEN AND DIRECTED THE COUNCIL TO FOLLOW UP ON THE EXERCISE.

8.  THE SUMMIT CONSIDERED AN APPLICATION BY THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO (DRC) TO JOIN THE EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY AND DIRECTED THE COUNCIL TO EXPEDITIOUSLY UNDERTAKE A VERIFICATION MISSION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE EAC PROCEDURE FOR ADMISSION OF NEW MEMBERS INTO THE EAC AND REPORT TO THE 22ND

9.  THE SUMMIT RECALLED ITS PREVIOUS DISCUSSIONS ON THE EU-EAC ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT AND RECOGNIZED THAT NOT ALL PARTNER STATES ARE IN A POSITION TO SIGN, RATIFY AND IMPLEMENT THE AGREEMENT. THE SUMMIT RECOGNIZED THE IMPORTANCE OF SOME PARTNER STATES TO MOVE FORWARD. THE SUMMIT CONCLUDED THAT PARTNER STATES WHO WISH TO DO SO SHOULD BE ABLE TO COMMENCE ENGAGEMENTS WITH THE EU WITH A VIEW TO STARTING THE EU-EAC-EPA IMPLEMENTATION UNDER THE PRINCIPLE OF VARIABLE GEOMENTRY.

10.  THE SUMMIT APPOINTED DR. PETER MATHUKI FROM THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA AS THE NEW SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE COMMUNITY FOR A FIVE-YEAR NON-RENEWABLE TERM. THE TENURE OF THE NEW SECRETARY GENERAL TAKES EFFECT ON 25TH APRIL, 2021

11.  THE SUMMIT THANKED AMB. LIBERAT MFUMUKEKO FOR HIS DEDICATED SERVICE RENDERED TO THE COMMUNITY AND WISHED HIM WELL IN HIS FUTURE ENDEAVOURS.

12.  THE SUMMIT APPOINTED JUSTICE NESTOR KAYOBERA, LADY JUSTICE ANITA MUGENI AND JUSTICE KATHURIMA M’INOTI AS JUDGES TO THE APPELLATE DIVISION OF THE EAST AFRICAN COURT OF JUSTICE WITH EFFECT FROM 27TH FEBRUARY, 2021.

13.  THE SUMMIT ALSO APPOINTED JUSTICE YOHANE BAKOBORA MASARA, JUSTICE RICHARD WABWIRE WEJULI, JUSTICE RICHARD MUHUMUZA AS JUDGES TO THE FIRST INSTANCE DIVISION OF THE EAST AFRICAN COURT OF JUSTICE WITH EFFECT FROM 27TH FEBRUARY, 2021.

14.  THE SUMMIT DESIGNATED JUSTICE NESTOR KAYOBERA AS JUDGE PRESIDENT OF THE EAST AFRICAN COURT OF JUSTICE, JUSTICE GEOFFREY KIRYABWIRE AS VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COURT; JUSTICE YOHANE BAKOBORA MASARA AS PRINCIPAL JUDGE AND JUSTICE AUDACE NGIYE DEPUTY PRINCIPAL JUDGE WITH EFFECT FROM 27TH FEBRUARY, 2021.

15.  THE SUMMIT THANKED JUSTICE DR EMMANUEL UGIRASHEBUJA, JUSTICE LIBOIRE NKURUNZIZA, JUSTICE AARON RINGERA, LADY JUSTICE MONICA MUGENYI, JUSTICE DR FAUSTIN NTEZILAYO AND JUSTICE FAKIHI JUNDU FOR THEIR DEDICATED SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY AND WISHED THEM WELL IN THEIR FUTURE ENDEAVOURS.

16.  THE SUMMIT RESOLVED THAT THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA WOULD BE THE NEW CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMUNITY WHILE THE REPUBLIC OF BURUNDI WOULD BE THE RAPPORTEUR. THE SUMMIT CLARIFIED THAT THE REPUBLIC OF BURUNDI WOULD BECOME THE NEXT CHAIRPERSON AFTER THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA.

17.  THEIR EXCELLENCIES PRESIDENT UHURU KENYATTA OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA; PRESIDENT ÉVARISTE NDAYISHIMIYE OF THE REPUBLIC OF BURUNDI; PRESIDENT SALVA KIIR MAYARDIT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN; PRESIDENT YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA AND VICE PRESIDENT SAMIA SULUHU HASSAN REPRESENTING PRESIDENT DR. JOHN POMBE JOSEPH MAGUFULI OF THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA, THANKED THE OUTGOING CHAIRPERSON OF THE SUMMIT, HIS EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT PAUL KAGAME OF THE REPUBLIC OF RWANDA, FOR HIS STEWARDSHIP OF THE COMMUNITY DURING HIS TENURE.

 

DONE AT ARUSHA, THIS 27TH DAY OF FEBRUARY, 2021.

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