MPs refute reports of rift in EAC
By DENNIS ONYANGO
| November 29th 2013
By DENNIS ONYANGO
Forty members of the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) have refuted reports of a stand-off in East African integration.
The regional Parliament said the East African Community (EAC) is solid despite perceived misunderstandings facing the institution. Eala Speaker Margaret Zziwa said the EAC Day scheduled for next week would bring all heads of state in the region to ensure further cohesion.
Speaking during Eala’s visit to Lake Victoria Basin Commission in Kisumu, Ms Zziwa said all the heads of state in East Africa have confirmed their attendance of the event set for November 30.
“We are currently visiting various EAC institutions to strengthen them and cement integration in the region,” Zziwa said.
She said the absence of Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Sh1.2 trillion standard gauge railway yesterday should not be misunderstood as snubbing the initiative that will transform the transport sector in the region.
She added that Tanzania is not one of the hinterlands served by the port of Mombasa so the presence of President Kikwete was not compulsory.
The railway system is planned to extend to Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan, and their presidents attended the ceremony yesterday.
“Tanzania was present during the signing of the multi-national railway project agreement and there is no stand-off,” she said.
She vowed the assembly would proceed with its mandate of uniting the people of East Africa. On Tuesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta said EAC integration is firmly on course despite Tanzanian claims of being side-lined.
President Kenyatta said the growing benefits of interactions across the borders have catalysed Africans’ desire for integration. Tanzania has recently made claims of not being considered in key EAC meetings.
President Kikwete was not invited to an EAC meeting held in Mombasa in August to discuss cross-border projects; the meeting was attended by Uhuru, Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), and Paul Kagame (Rwanda). A recent meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, also saw the presidents of Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan sign a raft of protocols.
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