Friday, November 30, 2012
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni (left) receives the baton from Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki as the next East African Community chairman during the 14th Heads of State Summit at Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi, on November 30, 2012. PHOTO | STEPHEN MUDIARI | NATION MEDIA GROUP
The push by South Sudan to join the East African Community went a notch higher on Friday when Heads of States approved a verification report on the country.
Five EAC member state’s Presidents also directed the council of ministers to look into Somalia’s application to join the fast-growing bloc.
President Kibaki, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania) said the EAC council of ministers should start negotiations with Juba following completion of the verification work.
The ministers were also instructed to get in touch with Somalia which is still entangled in the chains of turmoil to verify its application.
“The ministers should explore things for EAC to work constructively with Somalia on the matter,” a communiqué read by EAC secretary-general Richard Sezibera after the meeting said.
During the 14th Ordinary Summit of EAC Heads of State at Kenyatta International Conference Centre, the trading bloc also signed a letter of intent for start of commercial and trade dialogue with the US.
The Presidents backed Burundi’s application to join the Commonwealth and Rwanda’s admission to the UN Security Council.
They also supported regional efforts being undertaken under the International Conference of Great Lakes Region chaired by President Museveni to ensure peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu region.
President Museveni who chairs the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) also took over as EAC Summit chairman from President Kibaki on Friday.
The Heads of State also approved EAC protocol on peace and security, that on Information, Communications Technology network and one on sanitary measures.
President Museveni blamed ideological disorientation, suppression of the private sector, poor infrastructure, low literacy levels, narrow internal market, colonial balkanisation and lack of democracy as some of problems that have affected Uganda’s development in last 50 years.
He said there is enough market for goods produced in EAC countries and that the improvement of infrastructure and discovery of oil, gas and other minerals would ensure development.
“I will fight the myopia by parasitic civil servants and delays,” he said.