THE Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has called for a referendum on the East African political federation.
Kadaga told the East African legislative assembly symposium in Arusha last week that taking the issue to the masses would make them have a sense of ownership of the process.
This is a brilliant idea that should be given serious consideration. President Yoweri MusevÂ¬eni, in his address at the opening of the same symposium underscored the importance of a political federation. He said a political federaÂ¬tion was vital in ensuring equitable distribution of benefits within the partner states. Therefore, the need for a political federation is a foregone conclusion.
However, to avoid suspicion, it is only prudent that extensive sensitisation is conducted to educate the masses on what a political federaÂ¬tion exactly entails. A political federation entails the surrender of some powers by the federating units and vice versa.
It is a political system where every citizen is subordinated to at least two state institutions.
Traditionally, the federal government takes over defence, foreign policy, fiscal and monetary policy, some legislative authority and the final appellate court.
In the proposed East African federation, the political system is not yet harmonised. For instance, while Uganda has no presidential term limits, Rwanda has a seven-year two-term limit while Kenya and Tanzania have five-year two-term arrangements. These are critical issues that cannot be left to the politicians and bureaucrats in Arusha to decide on.
A referenÂ¬dum, therefore, becomes the most enviable tool not only to educate the citizens on what politiÂ¬cal federation entails, but would also make the citizens embrace and own the process.
This way, we shall avoid the suspicion that has characterised the current attempts to fast track the process.
EA political federation needs referendum