President Uhuru hands over EAC chairmanship to Kikwete on February 20

NAIROBI, KENYA: President Uhuru Kenyatta will next month hand over the chairmanship of the East African Community to Tanzania's president Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete.

Consequently, the EAC Heads of State summit will be held in Nairobi on 20th February 2015, where Kenya will transfer all chairmanship to Tanzania's counterparts in line with the EAC Treaty requirements.

The tenure of office of the chairperson of the EAC Heads of State summit is one year and it is held on rotational basis among the partner states as per Article 12 of the Treaty establishing the EAC.

President Uhuru failed to hand over to Kikwete last year in December following his (Kikwete) hospitilisation in the USA.

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Consequently, the EAC Heads of State summit, which the EAC Treaty demands physical presence of all the five EAC presidents failed to take place, ushering in a period of uncertainty and anxiety as there was no word forthcoming from the summit.

"The summit will be held next month. It will mark the completion of the process which begun in December where the chairmanship of the Council of Ministers has already been handed over to Tanzania," said Ms Phyillis Kandie, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of EAC Affairs, Commerce and Tourism.

"Kenya is handing over with one year of marked success where the country fastracked the free movement of goods and people across the border, deepened integration process and carried out infrastructure improvements."

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She said President Uhuru has disabused the notion that EAC is only for the political class saying a lot of sensitisation has been going on among the masses during his one year tenure.

"Last year (2013-14) the president led the other partner states in signing the Monetary Union protocol and now a number of EAC countries are in the process of ratifying the protocol," Ms Kandie said.

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"Since the EAC Treaty allows the asymmetrical implementation of the integration process where some countries can go ahead of others, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda have begun implementing infrastructure projects In the Northern corridor," she explained.

"This year, Tanzania and Burundi are expected to fastrack infrastructure projects that will open up trade in the southern corridor."

Meanwhile, Tanzania's president has appointed Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, as the minister for East African Cooperation swapping positions with Samuel Sita who now takes over as minister for who Transport.

The president made the changes ahead of the EAC Heads of State summit where the new EAC minister will now take over the chairmanship of the EAC council of ministers from Kenya's Ms Kandie.

President Kikwete made the changes when he appointed five other ministers in a reshuffle announced over the weekend.

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EACPresident Jakaya Kikwete President Uhuru KenyattaPresident Uhuru KenyattaNon Tarrif BarriersTanzania