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East African Community to draft Constitution for political federation

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The East African Community (EAC) is to name a team to draft the Constitution for the regional political federation.

The team of draftsmen, according to Ambassador Emmanuel Hatega, will include experts in different relevant fields.

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and for the EAC from four of the five member states currently meeting in Kampala will commission the team.

The three-day meeting which opened on Sept 10, 2013, with Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania attending, is intended to fast track of the East African political federation.

According to the Uganda Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the meeting is a follow up of the EAC Presidents' summit in Mombasa, Kenya on August 28, 2013.

A statement from the Ministry said the Mombasa summit reviewed the progress on implementation of the decisions made at an earlier summit in June in Entebbe.

The June summit, according to the statement, decided on the development of the railway, petroleum products, crude oil pipeline, oil refinery and power generation and transmission. Others issues agreed on were development of a single tourist visa, single customs territory and fast tracking political federation.

Explaining the apparent absence of Tanzania in the block meetings for integration, Hatega said none of the member states is being excluded.

According to him, the member States agreed in the treaty, that countries that feel are ready to move could do it and give time to those that had not to join them later. He said Tanzania is still sorting out some internal issues but would join the rest later.

Hatega said Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda started on the process in June and were later joined by Burundi during the August Mombasa summit.

He explained that the treaty that established the EAC stipulated for steps namely the customs union, common market, monetary union and the final stage of political federation.

This, he said, is where the clause that says the partner States that want to move faster could start as the others join later.

He could not commit himself on when exactly the political federation will be realised, but he said the team of draftsmen will start work as soon as they are commissioned.

Hatega explained that when the draft constitution is in place, the Ministerial Committee will hand it over to the Heads of State to study it and advice on further steps.

Opening the Ministerial meeting on Tuesday, Ambassador James Mugume said there is need for open discussion to provide concrete proposals for implementation of the political federation. He noted that attempts had failed from the 1960s.

All Africa.com

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