The Second Deputy Prime Minister who doubles as Minister for East African Community Affairs Hon Kirunda Kivejinja has revealed that the East African Community (EAC) Bloc will not get involved in the escalating tensions between Uganda and Rwanda, noting that the matter has been left to President Yoweri Museveni and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame to resolve.
Kivejinja was speaking at the media breakfast meeting in Kampala today.
“The East African Community is not involved in all these things and the two heads of State both of Rwanda and Uganda vowed that those matters should be left to them and they assured us that they would resolve them. Until they tell us that they have failed that is when we will have interest,” the minister said.
“This is not an achievement for our 20 years which we must celebrate but it’s an experience we are also passing through. Experience does not only mean positive experience. It is not that the killing of the people should celebrated…we only need to learn that even brothers quarrel” he said.
Minister Kivejinja also noted that East Africa has experienced much worse than the current Rwanda – Uganda misunderstandings, citing the Guerilla warfare in Luweero triangle and the 1994 genocide in Rwanda which left over 800,000 people dead.
The tensions between two countries come as the EAC bloc prepares to mark its 20th anniversary which is slated for 30th November 2019 under the theme “depending integration, widening cooperation”
As a way of commemorating the milestone, Kivejinja announced that on Friday this week, his ministry will organize the Eria Kategaya memorial lecture
The former East African community secretary General Hon Amanya Mushega will be the keynote speaker while President Museveni is expected to be the Chief guest.
“We will organize a memorial lecture in honor of Eria Kategaya as one of the great statesman this country has ever produced,” said Kivejinja
He added that 20 years of EAC have come with multiple achievements such as expansion from 3 to 6 partner States with 2.5 million square kilometers of land, 170 million people and gross domestic product (GDP) worth $170 billion.
“Major border crosses like Busia, Malaba etc are open 24 hours, we have simplified documents for cross border travel. Now one needs only a national ID to cross to all East African countries”
Kivejinja further noted the thriving of the East African Trade saying that since 2005 – 2006 financial year when customs union came into force, the EAC partner States’ exports have increased from $107.69 million to $1.6 billion.
“In 2018 – 2019, our imports from East African Partner States rose from 442.37 million USD to over 1.5 billion USD. The single customs union territory has reduced the time of cargo from 18 days to 4 days from Mombasa to Kampala and from 21 days to 5-4 days from Mombasa to Kigali” he added
The minister of State for East African Affairs Julius Wandera Maganda announced that Ministry of gender which is the implementer of languages together with Ministry of education embarked on a process of introducing Swahili to primary schools.
“Kiswahili is now compulsory in all teachers’ training colleges. We are now harmonizing education system that all students in East Africa pay same tuition fees. We are trying to do harmonization and this is being done by interuniversity council of East Africa,” he added.