Even with no clear end in sight yet for the squabbles between Uganda and Rwanda, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda has assured Parliament that nothing can derail the East Africa Community (EAC) dream.
Rugunda’s response followed concern by legislators about the inhumane way Ugandans outside the borders were being treated yet here, foreigners are welcomed hospitably.
Speaking on the floor of parliament, Rugunda said all was on course for the EAC, alluding to harmonization of travel arrangements which now enables citizens of the five nations travel freely.
“With the national ID you can now move from Uganda and go to Kenya. And you can go to Rwanda with your national ID,” he said.
Rugunda also noted that the federation is working on an East African passport which shall be used by citizens from the five countries that make the community. With this in place, he pointed out that political integration was in full gear.
“We are now crafting a constitution for East Africa which shows that the leadership is very serious and we are moving closer and closer to integration,” he says.
“The fact that Uganda now has a trade balance of 557 million dollars with our East African neighbours is a great thing. Yes it is. I can see some doubting Thomases including my brother Mafabi”.
Going by the general mood across the region, Rugunda said that this time nothing shall fail the resuscitated federation which collapsed in 1977.
“East Africa is on course to deepen its integration, this is a process that is not stoppable, there may be irritants here and there,” he affirmed.
As such, Rugunda called upon member states to collectively resolve grievances that threaten to tear this federation apart.
However even with Rugunda’s assurances, MPs raised concerns about the current situation between Uganda and Rwanda.
Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikuubo asked why the Ugandan parliament has been kept in the dark ever since the Uganda- Rwanda dispute broke out.
On her part, Moses Kasibante wondered whether the political federation dream could be achieved when political systems of governance differ from country to country.
Concluding on the matter, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga urged Julius Maganda the state minister for East African Community Affairs to schedule some other time and address these issues conclusively.
According to a statement by Maganda, on November 18th 2019, President Yoweri Museveni will launch a draft EAC constitution in Kampala.
This follows conclusion of a situational analysis and consultations by a team of experts that included, Uganda’s Justice Benjamin Odoki and Prof. Murindwa Rutanga.