Opinion
EAC leaders should work towards uniting the peoplePublish Date: May 05, 2014
newvision
  • mail
  • img

By Charles Okecha

I have read with optimism recommendations and reviews of the regional leaders under East African Community (EAC) bloc about progress towards cooperation of regional states.

It gave a green light to a process of drafting a constitution for the eventual political federation. The first episode of the Post-Independence EAC was snuffed out in 1977.
 

A year later Uganda and Tanzania were embroiled in full scale war. It is thus evident that the cooperation was fragile and imploded under the pressure of regime change in Uganda.

Implying that regional leaders should work towards the actual integration of the peoples of East Africa, rather than abstract drafting of constitutions and signing of treaties or else a similar fiasco is inevitable.
 

In fact the post-Independence EAC rotated around sharing resources like railways, harbours, airways, aviation facilities, educational links like students exchange system and East African certificate of education.

The vouchers of the East African Railways and Harbours, emblems on the buttons of my dad’s uniforms and the long tours we made by train are some of my precious childhood memories of that EAC.
 

Yet during the Ugandan turbulence, thousands perished. Those who fled to neighbouring Kenya found themselves in refugee camps or remand prisons. Professionals like teachers were stigmatised for snatching jobs from the indigenous.

Essential commodities like soap, sugar, salt and paraffin were smuggled across the borders under many life threatening circumstances.

Although it was not the intentions of the Kenyan government to harass Ugandan exiles, there was no bond of association between the citizens of the respective countries.

One side spoke Swahili while to the other it was a loathsome brutal regime language. Had Idi Amin not attacked the Kagera Salient in 1978, nobody was willing to pay the price for Uganda’s reprieve.
 

Apparently, Ugandans are more cordial than the rest of the region.
 

They have a strong bond with Rwandans whose leaders lived and studied here. Nevertheless many lived in camps in dire conditions and did the worst odd jobs for survival.

However, their triumphant home return and ultimate settlement has atoned for all the wrongs they suffered in Uganda.

Regional leaders are not governing geographical territories but people. There is urgent need for stirring up interaction and cooperation between the respective populations for the EAC dream to become a long-lasting tangible reality.

In addition to administrative facilities like the joint identification system we should:

1. Accelerate the teaching/learning and use of Swahili in schools and day to day communication in the non-Kiswahili speaking regions.

2. Introduce a unifying currency namely the East African Shilling alongside the currencies of respective countries, the way the Euro is used.

3. Provide cheap and affordable transport links through road and railway networks.

4. Enhance the regional security against crimes like car theft, drug/human trafficking and terrorism.

5. Mobilise support for neighbours during emergency situations like humanitarian crises and conflicts.

6. Participate in activities like quelling electoral violence and playing observatory roles in electoral processes.

7. Form associations of professionals like doctors, engineers, research scientists, teachers, bankers, civil servants to share findings and ideas.

8. Encourage award of contracts to companies in neighbouring countries and amicably use resources like crude oil, oil refineries, harbours and electricity among others.

9. Adjust educational curriculum in schools and institutions to meet the needs of the regional job market.

10. Increase interaction along religious, social and cultural lines.
 

Artists should regularly perform in concerts. Sports competitions should be encouraged at club levels and among schools and institutions within the region.

The writer works with St. Paul’s College, Mbale

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
The Origins of War
The 59 skeletons were found in 1964, lying together in a gravesite beside the Nile near what is now the Egyptian-Sudanese border. They died between 13,000 and 14,000 years ago, and some of them seemed to have died in battle....
Vision 2040 is a reality for Uganda
Vision 2040 is a reality for Uganda's strategic plans By John Vianney Ahumuza Uganda has adopted a series of national development programmes aimed at transforming the economy. Previous plans have included the Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP's) and the Ten Point Programmes that included Pla...
Make voting compulsory
Uganda is going to the presidential and parliamentary polls in 2016 to exercise their democratic duty in choosing their leaders....
Delay of Capitation grant release very risky
Due to the problems Universal Primary Education (UPE) is facing, some critics would suggest scrapping it since its implementation has become more tedious and expensive than planned. Under the UPE programme, the Government abolished all tuition fees and took on this role through the Government Capi...
MH17 plane crash: Who did it? What next?
Maybe the crew who launched the missile that brought down Malaysian Airlines flight 17 over eastern Ukraine on Thursday afternoon were trained professionals, but it seems unlikely....
Over liberalization: What about the capital markets?
Various individuals, private businessmen and even business associations have raised concerns about the high interest rates charged by commercial banks....
Should government review powers of kings?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter