TOP
Wednesday,December 02,2020 12:55 PM
  • Home
  • Archive
  • Politicians must promote benefits of the EA market

Politicians must promote benefits of the EA market

By Vision Reporter

Added 28th April 2010 03:00 AM

FEARS that Tanzania would fail to accent to the East Africa Community (EAC) Common Market protocol were dispelled this week when MPs ratified the protocol, signed by president Jakaya Kikwete in November last year.

FEARS that Tanzania would fail to accent to the East Africa Community (EAC) Common Market protocol were dispelled this week when MPs ratified the protocol, signed by president Jakaya Kikwete in November last year.

By Suleiman Otieno

FEARS that Tanzania would fail to accent to the East Africa Community (EAC) Common Market protocol were dispelled this week when MPs ratified the protocol, signed by president Jakaya Kikwete in November last year.

However, there was hesitation from many Tanzanian MPs, that Tanzania stands to lose out in the common market agreement. While their fears cannot be wished away, EAC governments are duty-bound to educate their populace so that no single country enters a ‘marriage’ it does not believe in.

The common market aims to promote social, cultural, economic and other interactions of people in a larger and a vibrant single market.

The EAC common market, which commences in July this year, in principle will govern intra-regional trade matters and foster cooperation in agriculture, food security, industrial development, education, etc.

The uncertainties can be allayed through civic education and strengthening of different EAC institutions that would ensure member countries have a proper platform to address their grievances within the bloc.

Regrettably, there have been accusations and counter-accusations from EAC member countries about uneven playing grounds as some countries are perceived to be benefiting from others “unfairly”.

Following Tanzania’s failure to be granted permission to sell ivory at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meeting held recently in Doha, Tanzania has accused Kenya and Rwanda of not supporting their bid.

Tanzania’s request was rejected on the grounds that allowing any country to sell ivory for whatever reason could fuel poaching of elephants.

It is a shame that while the EAC has organs that should be addressing disputes in different sectors, they have not been used as they should.

What is the point of having EAC institutions if countries with grievances do not use them? Or is it a point of not trusting EAC institutions to deliver what would be good to the greater EAC bloc and not just for a particular country?

Unmistakably, while some countries within the EAC community have embraced the idea enthusiastically, some have been suspicious.

All in all, although subject to debate, countries that choose to see the benefits of EAC will more likely be better prepared to handle the challenges that will arise from the union as opposed to countries that choose to adopt a “let’s wait and see attitude” towards the regional bloc.

Furthermore, focusing on the past and “finger-pointing” might blur our vision and cripple the EAC organs. Whereas safeguarding the interests of individual countries is important, there is no doubt that each member state will have to make sacrifices for the good of the greater East Africa.

Consequently, the onus rests with the present leadership of Kikwete, Mwai Kibaki, Yoweri Museveni, Paul Kagame and Pierre Nkurunzinza to lead the regional bloc in scaling greater heights despite the challenges.

Should they be equal to the task, in uniting the EAC, they will go down in history as the leaders who succeeded where Julius Nyerere, Jomo Kenyatta and idi Amin failed in 1977.

The initial EAC collapsed mainly because of disagreements caused by dictatorship in Uganda, socialism in Tanzania and capitalism in Kenya.

If the political differences in 1977 are a yardstick, then politicians and the political will of individual member countries hold the key in unlocking the potential of the EAC bloc.
The writer is a marketing executive with a private university in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Politicians must promote benefits of the EA market

Related articles

More From The Author

More From The Author