East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 9th May, 2023: National consultations for the drafting of the Constitution of the East African Community (EAC) Political Confederation resumed in Mombasa, Kenya with the launch of 20-day long public hearing sessions across the country.
The 20-day consultations will see the team of constitutional experts for Drafting the EAC Political Federation Constitution hold consultations with civil society, local leaders, opinion leaders and the business community, among other stakeholders, to seek their views on what kind of a Political Confederation they would desire for the EAC.
Apart from Mombasa, the team of experts will hold consultations in Kisumu, Kakamega, Eldoret, Nakuru, Nyeri, Embu, Garissa and Nairobi counties.
Speaking at the launch, the Cabinet Secretary for East African Community, Arid and Semi-Arid Lands and Regional Development, Ms. Rebecca Miano, said that national stakeholders’ consultations on the Political Confederation was a crucial engagement in the context of the Community’s efforts towards promoting popular participation, which in turn, will inform the policy decision to be made.
Ms. Miano said the public hearing is an excellent way of enforcing the spirit of true ownership of the envisaged outcomes.
‘’I can confirm to you that the team of experts will listen to and engage Kenyans on what type of Confederal Constitution EAC should have from all the 47 counties across the country. We therefore appeal to the media to sensitize our citizens and create public awareness about this exercise starting today, 8th May to 27th May, 2023,” added the Minister.
The Cabinet Secretary made an appeal to members of the public to get in touch with offices of the Governors in all the 47 Counties for guidance on how to participate or at the offices of the Regional and County Commissioners.
“I encourage women, religious, youth, civil society, and the academia and business leaders to participate,’’ said the CS.
Ms. Miano disclosed that the key areas of interest for the Experts will centre around:
- cooperation under the political confederation;
- the governing structure of the political confederation;
- modes of decision-making by the confederal authority;
- governance principles of the confederation;
- the relationship between individual Partner States and the confederal authority;
- funding of the operations of the confederal authority;
- the mode of adoption of the constitution establishing the political confederation, and;
- any other constitutional of issues of concern to stakeholders.
On his part, the EAC Secretary General, Hon. (Dr.) Peter Mutuku Mathuki, said the process of drafting the Constitution for the EAC Political Confederation is drawn from Article 123(6) and (7) of the Treaty for establishment the EAC that empowers the Summit of Heads of State to initiate the process towards the establishment of a Political Federation.
The Secretary General disclosed to the meeting that a model structure of the Political Federation was created by the EAC Secretariat and considered by the 14th Summit in 2012.
Dr. Mathuki said the report of the Partner States-wide consultations on the draft EAC Political Federation Model, observed that, Partner States had generated convergence on a Confederation as the model for the East African Political Federation.
“Thereafter, the Summit in 2017 adopted the Political Confederation as a transitional model of the East African Political Federation,” said Dr. Mathuki.
The Secretary disclosed that the Republic of Kenya is the third Partner State where national consultations are being conducted, adding that national consultations had already been conducted in the Republic of Burundi in January 2020 and the Republic of Uganda in April 2021.
“I call upon all invited stakeholders to make time, have their views heard and contributions made in order to shape the eventual Constitution for the EAC Political Federation,” he added.
In his remarks, Justice Benjamin Odoki, the Chairman of the Committee of Constitutional Experts revealed that the Experts will use the 20-day long public hearings to listen and discuss with the people of Kenya on the EAC Political Confederation that they want, building on the existing EAC Treaty and the achievements already recorded.
Other issues will be the challenges encountered, the new developments marked by the admission of new Partner States, namely the Democratic Republic of Congo and the ongoing process to admit the Federal Republic of Somalia, as well as the changing geo-political environment at the regional level, the African Continent level and globally.
“I want to assure you that as Expert, we much value your contributions keeping in line with the fundamental principle of people-centered regional cooperation, we will be guided by your views in this constitution drafting exercise,” said Justice Odoki, who is also a retired Chief Justice of Uganda.
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
The Political Federation is the ultimate pillar in the EAC integration process, being preceded by the Customs Union, Common Market and Monetary Union in that order.
The Summit of EAC Heads of State in May 2017 adopted a Political Confederation as the transitional model to the Political Federation. The Team of Experts was appointed by the Summit in February 2018 and is chaired by Justice Benjamin Odoki, retired Chief Justice of Uganda. Justice Odoki is deputised by Busia (Kenya) Senator Amos Wako, who is also a former Kenyan Attorney General.
Source: EAC website.
The objectives of the National Consultations for the EAC Political Confederation are threefold:
- Enhance awareness on the ongoing Constitution-making process for transforming the EAC into a Political Confederation;
- Obtain stakeholders’ views on their interests and key issues to inform the drafting of model Confederation and subsequently a Confederal Constitution in line with the principle of people-centred regional community, and;
- Prepare the public in general to give their inputs into the draft Constitution once it will be drafted.