Looking at how rickety and ever seething the the East African Community has always been since its inception, one can comfortably foretell it’s seemingly demise. When’ll this happen? History and time can accurately tell. The current bottleneck revolving around many things including animosity between or among some members, colonial-sired sovereignty and the lack of a vision for true unity, among others, has a lot to tell. So, too, the history of the EAC since it was conceived soon after independence has a lot to tell.
The EAC I died after Idi Amin toppled Milton Obote in Uganda in 1971 and as per one of the brains and founders thanks to being in the upper echelons of the then ruling party the TANU, one Pius Msekwa (Daily News, June 28, 2018), the death the EAC so, too felled Mwl Julius Nyerere's dream of forming a federation of East Africa. The same way, the current bottleneck swooping from Burundi accusing Rwanda of sabotaging it is likely to allow history to replicate itself again. Currently, the authority in Bujumbura isn’t happy about how the EAC members have addressed its concerns.
Apart from simmering misunderstandings between Burundi and Rwanda, the EAC has never performed well thanks to every member to want to have its cake and eat it. This is where the crux of the problem lies. Instead of striving to unite member states and thereby form a single country, every country’s clang on and lilted with its myopic interests. One thing humans are good at is not learning from history. One’d think; the demise of the EAC I would have forewarned members not to repeat the very same mistakes of not striving for true unification of the region. Again, why’s it been impossible to actualise the union? This isn’t a simple question. However, the major stumbling block is power hunger among the leaders of the member states. For, every president wants to remain president even when his or her people want a full unification of the EAC member states. Have we ever tried this? Who wants to touch such a burning button, especially our leaders for the fear of losing their powers they seem to owlishly have monopolised?
Another thorny issue is how to use resources found in the area wherein some countries have more than others. For example, Tanzania has many more sources of resources such as minerals; land and peaceability compared to others with encumbrances such as conflicts, huge population, lack of true democracy, landless population, tribalism and the likes. I for one, as a Tanzanian, if asked what’s good for the EAC, I’d offer one and only one logical condition; member states must quickly and truly unite and form a unitarism, federalism, or confederalism with revolving presidency, or whatever they may settle for but not the current hoax, the EAC. For, it is nothing but a burden that’s refused to decolonise itself and do away with colonial carryovers and mentalities emanating from the division and the partition of Africa. This is because Africa knows how weak it has been so as to become vulnerable before the preying imperialists that divided and weakened it.
Time for petite imperial presidencies is long gone shall Africa aspire to move forward competently and confidently. With the united EAC, some chronic burdens such as distrusts, landlessness and lack of democracy in some member states, rancour among members and tribalism will practically be baulk at and nipped on the bud easily. If you clinically look at EAC members, it is only Tanzania and slightly Uganda that have fewer burdens and have been along each other through thick and thin. For example, Burundi, Kenya and Rwanda suffer tribal bouts while South Sudan is currently fragile thanks to an ongoing violent conflict with a smell of tribalism as well. The other day, I laughed a lot when Somalia, with its scars, wanted to be allowed to join the EAC. What’s it bringing in; if we face and own it, that others want? This business of unification must be seen in purely mutualistic but not altruistic or parasitic manner.
Arguably, when those interested in having a single united country known as the EAC or whatever agreed upon, especially the countries that have no susceptibility, must step up their game and remind those with vulnerability the importance of doing so. Their resources and peaceability are the bargaining chips they have to chirp in the dialogue. For, accepting the union is likely to profoundly help vulnerable countries more than any others. This is why, if every country keeps on pulling severally, countries like Tanzania and Uganda that comparably have no ills can form their own united country and ask other countries such as Mozambique and Zambia, which, apart from having land, moderate population, and peaceability, have resources to bring to the table. Methinks what’s blinded our people to fail to press their presidents to go for a united EAC is good language of doing business. If we observe the situation for a long run, we need to have a single country that can preclude the above mentioned ills some members have. And it must be clearly stated that those countries need countries that have no baggage than the later need them.
Pulling severally instead of doing so together creates, furthers and reinforces distrusts among the member states. Hypocrisy and vainglory aside, the existence and the logicality of the EAC have always been the realms of fiction so to speak. It is time to think big and go for the total unification of member states to form one country or kill the EAC instead of waiting for it to die a natural death that’s currently foreseeable.
Source: Citizen tomorrow.