By Henry Mukasa
KHARTOUM government’s application to join the East Africa Community (EAC) collapsed when regional leaders agreed that the country’s application did not meet the set requirements.
According to a communiqué issued at the conclusion of the EAC summit in Bujumbura, Burundi, the leaders also deferred the application of South Sudan to the council of ministers to scrutinise whether it met the benchmarks.
Burundi president Pierre Nkurunziza hosted counterparts Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) Mwai Kibaki (Kenya), Rwandan Prime Minister, Pierre Habumuremyi and Tanzania vice-president, Mohamed Gharib Bilal at Golf Hotel in Bujumbura.
As leaders converged in Bujumbura, the application of Sudan (Khartoum) to join the regional bloc was one of the items on the agenda.
The application had suffered a similar fate early in the week when technocrats from Uganda and Tanzania refused to endorse Khartoum’s application.
Officials argued they differed with Khartoum on the concept of democracy and the way it treats women.
Sudan fought a vicious war with the south for decades which ended with the signing of a peace agreement in Kenya in 2005.
In January this year, the south voted in a referendum to secede leading to the formation of South Sudan, led by president Salva Kiir.
On political federation, the leaders directed the EAC secretariat to issue guidelines on what form of integration the community will take.
The leaders received a report on what the East Africans think about the federation, and challenges of the East African Political Federation.
Meanwhile a statement issued by State House said President Museveni returned home yesterday after attending the EAC summit. It said President Nkurunziza handed over the regional body’s chair to President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya.
President Kibaki reportedly thanked the East African leaders for the confidence and trust bestowed upon him to handle the mantle of stewardship for the coming year.
He pledged total commitment as he discharges all obligations as chairperson of the community, whose vision is a prosperous, competitive secure and politically united East Africa.
EAC rejects Sudan bid