East Africa: Ministers Turn to Political Parties to Spearhead Integration
By Henry Neondo
NAIROBI---In bid to carry their citizens along the integration path, ministers responsible for East African Community from respective member states are turning to political parties to help hurry the sluggish process forward.
At a meeting in Nairobi, the ministers said political parties cannot only help in citizen mobilization and voter sensitization, but they can also shape the national agenda critical to the attainment of the regional interests.
Speaking at a sensitization workshop for political party leaders in Nairobi, Musa Sirma, Kenya’s Minister of East African Community called on the political parties to look beyond their borders, instead begin to incorporate the community’s vision and ensure interstate party collaboration.
He advised political parties in the five countries that make up the East African Community not to be left behind the integration process.
He advised that political parties with similar aspirations in the region begin to seek ways in which they can work together in the context of political federation being aspired to by the region.
Sirma said the ministers responsible for integration from across the region have realized the potency of political parties.
He said the ministers will use the ability of political parties to reach out to their supporters through civic education and campaigns and ability to encourage party members’ participation in electoral process to hasten integration process.
He asked participants drawn from across the region to ensure that their followers to take advantage of the opportunities arising from the integration process.
Article 5(2) of the Treaty establishing the EAC sets the ground for the establishment of a customs Union, a Common Market Monetary Union and Political Federation to facilitate economic activities.
Other than the Customs Union, no other aspects of the treaty have been agreed upon. Currently, partner states are negotiating on the monetary union.