Mandate and Core Functions

The mandate of the Directorate of Political Affairs is derived from the mandate of the State Department of East African Affairs as captured in the Executive Order No.2/2013 on organization of the Government of Kenya and includes:

  1. Participation in East African Community (EAC) meetings on political affairs;
  1. Coordination of governments participation in EAC meetings sector;
  1. Coordination of implementation of EAC regional programmes on political affairs;
  1. Implementation of provisions of the Treaty establishing the EAC relating to political affairs; and
  1. Coordination and promotion of the East African community federation.

In addition it derives its mandate from Article 5(2) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community’s pillar of Political Federation and functionally spearheads all issues relating to Political Affairs, as stipulated by Articles 123-125 of the Treaty among other general provisions. The specific functions include: Political Affairs, Regional Peace and security and Defence.

The Core Functions of the Directorate are to coordinate, facilitate and oversee Kenya’s participation in The EAC in the following areas:

  1. Political federation process;
  2. Defense;
  3. Immigration and refugee management;
  4. Regional peace and security
  5. Foreign policy coordination;
  6. Good governance- rule of law and administration of justice, election, observations, human rights, anti-corruption.


“To have a deepened and widened awareness on political affairs relating to the East African Community integration process”


“To facilitate, negotiate and coordinate the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of EAC policies, projects and programmes on political affairs for effective integration.”

Quality Policy

The State Department is Quality Certified under the ISO900:2008. In ensuring that the State Department continues to meet its ISO obligations for the FY 2015/2016 the Directorate will pursue the following quality objectives indicating who, what, when and how as detailed below:

  1. To circulate the draft Country position papers to MCDA’s and other stakeholders for information within 2 days after the preparatory meeting.
  2. To reduce the time taken to initiate action on relevant sectoral council/ council/summit decisions and directives that require action from 5 to 2 days upon return from the EAC meeting/activity.
  3. To reduce the number of days that DPA takes to submit the details of nominees/delegates for regional meetings to the EAC Secretariat from 7 (seven) to 5 (five) days.
  4. To reduce the number of days taken to inform MCDA’s and other relevant stakeholders about the EAC activities   from four (4) to two (2) days.

In pursuing our mission statement we shall foster to promote partnerships, develop liaison lines and maintain linkages with our stakeholders.[/toggle][toggle title=”Achievements:” open=”no”]The Directorate has coordinated and facilitated in the approval and ratification of the following protocols:

  • Foreign Policy Coordination;
  • Peace and Security; and
  • Cooperation in Defence.
  • Joint Border Commission between Kenya/Uganda, Kenya/Tanzania, Kenya/South Sudan/Ethopia

Currently the Protocol on Immunities and Privileges is in the ratification process.

East African Political Federation: The Foundation” open=”no”]Political federation is the fourth pillar and the ultimate goal of the East African Community integration process after the Customs Union, Common Market and the Monetary Union. Its foundation began with the establishment of institutions such as the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) and the East African Court of Justice (EACJ). Inaugurated in 2001, EALA and EACJ completed the organizational set up of the community, complementing its earlier established organs, namely the Summit, Council, Coordination Committee and the Secretariat.

Their establishment was the earliest achievement of the community towards political federation, providing fully functioning executive; albeit a loose one, legislative and judicial organs. The office of political federation at the EAC Secretariat comprises three departments: political affairs, peace and security and international relations.[/toggle][toggle title=”The EAC Political Federation Journey” open=”no”]Political Federation is described as a form of government whereby individual states agree to secede part of their sovereignty to form a federal Government such as the United States of America among others.

The EAC is anchored in the shared common history of the people of East Africa as well as on their need to safeguard and pursue a common destiny in order to survive in the global arena. The people of East Africa have enjoyed close historical, political, social economic, cultural, lingual and other ties for generations and acknowledge the necessity to move beyond economic integration to a deeper integration driven by political federation.

The establishment of political federation entails the pooling of sovereignty into a single stronger political entity with capacity to better manage the regional resources. A political federation will facilitate regional peace, security, stability, good neighbourliness and peaceful settlement of disputes.

Taking cognizance of the futility of pursuing economic integration without political authority, the EAC Heads of States resolved to examine ways of expediting the process towards political federation at their Summit held in Nairobi on 27th -29th August 2004. Consequently, the so called Wako committee was established to fast-track Political Federation.

The committee presented its report to the Summit in November 2004. The consultations by the Wako Committee were however, found insufficient to make concrete decisions towards the Political Federation. To fill this gap, the EAC Summit directed the Council of Ministers to initiate the process of sensitizing and consulting East Africans on their views on the Political Federation. National Consultation Committees (NCCs) were appointed which carried out assessments in all partner states between 2006 and 2008. The NCCs reports identified the following ‘Fears, Concerns and Challenges’ (FCCs):

  1. Disparities in the national constitutions and practices of democracy, good governance, anti-corruption, human rights and rule of law;
  2. Lack of uniformity in doctrine, discipline and accountability among agencies dealing with peace, security and defense;
  3. Loss of sovereignty;
  4. Lack of mechanism for participation of national political parties in the federal arrangement;
  5. Lack of clarity on the model of federation.

The Summit further directed that these FCCs be studied by a team of experts and concrete recommendations made on how to address them. The findings were considered by the 13th Ordinary Summit of EAC Heads of State held in Bujumbura on 30th November 2011. The summit directed the Secretariat to:

  1. Produce a roadmap for establishing and strengthening the institutions identified as critical to the functioning of a customs union, common market, and monetary union;
  2. Formulate an action plan to operationalize the recommendations of the report;
  3. Propose an action plan on draft model of the structure of the East African Political Federation.

Current Status

During 33rd Council of Ministers meeting held in Arusha, Tanzania from 22nd – 27th February, 2016, all Partner States agreed on a Confederation Model for the EAC federation. The confederation is understood to mean the gradual, incremental collaboration in specified areas which to a great extent is alluded to in Article 5 (2) of the Treaty.

Whereas a federation has a strong central government, a confederation is more of an agreement between separate political units to co-operate in certain specified areas such as Defence and Security; Common Currency; Foreign Affairs and International Trade; Immigration, Emigration and Labour Movement; Infrastructure including Aviation, Railways, Marine, Navigation, Shipping, Roads, Postal Services, Telecommunication and Meteorology; and Education, Science and Technology, Culture and Sports among others.

Kenya is in cognizance and agreement to the confederation model. This has been confirmed through various consultative forums involving different stakeholders and ultimately the Cabinet decision and directive supporting political confederation model. The Heads of State in their 18th Summit held on 20th May, 2017 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania formally approved the confederation model and made recommendations on the way forward.[/toggle][toggle title=”Activities in the Political Affairs Sector” open=”no”]The mandate of the Directorate of Political Affairs as stated under Article 123 of the Treaty is to consolidate democracy, the rule of law and respect of human rights and to enhance the eventual establishment of a political federation. The Directorate seeks to promote the tenets of the EAC integration as spelt under Article 3(3) (b) and the provisions under Article 6(d) and Article 7(2) of the Treaty. Under these provisions, Partner States undertake to efforts to abide by the principles of good governance, democracy, the rule of law, social justice and human rights. The Directorate coordinates the implementation of these programmes in the country and also carries our sensitization and mobilization of various stakeholders to promote awareness about the integration process to garner support for the EAC Political Federation.

Some of the programmes coordinated by the Directorate include:[/toggle][toggle title=”The EAC Annual Conferences on Good Governance” open=”no”]The EAC treaty recognizes good governance as one of the fundamental principles that govern the achievement of the objectives of the community. The conferences bring together national agencies and institutions responsible for human rights, anti-corruption, electoral processes, judicial processes and legislatures to discuss and debate core issues on diverse thematic areas of good governance in regional integration. Recommendations made at these events are considered by the council and included in programming and policy making. The following five (5) conferences and their respective themes have been held so far:

  1. The Role of Good Governance in Regional Integration’: 19th-21st January, 2009 in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania;
  2. Good Governance for Sustainable Integration, Stability and Development:19th -20th August, 2010 in Nairobi, Kenya;
  3. Upholding the Rule of Law and Constitutionalism for the Promotion of Regional Integration:17th -18th Auust,2011 in Kampala, Uganda;
  4. ‘Sustaining the Fight against Corruption to Promote Regional Integration’: 8th -9th July, 2013 in Kigali, Rwanda; and
  5. ‘Delivering Peaceful and Credible Election for Sustainable Regional Integration- The Role of Key Stakeholders’: 24th -26th September, 2014 in Bujumbura, Burundi.

The Directorate is also coordinating Kenya’s participation in the ongoing negotiations for a Protocol on Good Governance whose objective is to entrench democracy, the rule of law, accountability, transparency, social justice, equal opportunities, and gender equality in the integration processes.[/toggle][toggle title=”The EAC Anthem and Flag” open=”no”]Article 119 of the EAC Treaty provides for Partner States to promote close co-operation amongst themselves in the fields of culture by promoting activities aimed at enhancing the East African identity. To this end “Wimbo wa Jumuiya ya Africa Mashariki” was developed and subsequently approved by the EAC Heads of State, during the 12th Ordinary Summit, as the ‘Anthem of the Community’. The EAC Anthem has been gazetted by the EAC Secretariat and incorporated in the EAC Emblems Act, 2008 amendment of 2012. This legal provision guides on its use and protects against disrespect and misuse.

The Cabinet approved the hoisting of the EAC Flag in all Government offices and public institutions and the singing of the EAC Anthem during public functions with effect from 28th July, 2016.

The Directorate has been popularizing the EAC Anthem and Flag throughout the country. A link has also been created in this website to enable you get the specifications of the EAC Flag, Brass and Choral versions of the Anthem.

Election Observation

EAC principles on election observation and evaluation have been developed to guide election observation and promote credibility of electoral processes and outcomes in the region. On the basis of these guidelines, election observations have been carried out in all the Partner States in the last ten years.

The observers mainly consist of Senior Officers and Commissioners from the respective regional Electoral Management Bodies(EMBs), Registrars of Political Parties, Representatives from Human Rights Commissions, EAC Secretariat, the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) and Ministries responsible for EAC Affairs. The Heads of missions have primarily been derived from EALA but there is now shift to former Vice Presidents and Heads of States.

The EAC Forum of Electoral Commissions

This is a regional platform for National Electoral Commissions to share experiences, challenges and best practices in organizing and conducting democratic, free, fair and credible elections. The forum initiates policies that promote democratic culture, dialogue and policy development on electoral integrity and justice.

The EAC Forum of National Human Rights Institutions

The forum facilitates exchange of experiences, views, information, challenges and best practices. Among its achievements, the forum conducted an evaluation of the national constitutions and other international instruments with the ultimate aim of standardizing and adopting best practices. An EAC Bill of Rights which seeks to set a regional model law in promotion and protection of human rights was passed by EALA in 2012. It aims at harmonizing the bills of rights contained in the national constitutions of the Partner States

Regional Consultative Meeting for Political Parties

This provides a consultative platform where political parties promote dialogue and share understandings of their role on EAC political integration process. This meeting takes place biannually.

EAC Dialogue on Political Integration

The attainment of a Political Federation obliges involvement of other critical stakeholders in the political integration process. Three regional dialogues on different Political Integration themes have been held so far:

  1. Enhancing Representation/ Inclusiveness in Promoting EAC Integration’:17th -18th November, 2011 in Kampala, Uganda;
  2. ‘Exploring the Relationship between Political and Economic Integration’: 18th -19th April, 2012 in Dar-es- Salaam, Tanzania; and
  3. EAC Women Leaders as the Drivers of the Political Integration Agenda’: 3rd -4th June,2013 in Kigali, Rwanda.


Jumuiya Yetu sote tuilinde
Tuwajibike tuimarike
Umoja wetu ni nguzo yetu
Idumu Jumuiya yetu.

1. Ee Mungu twaomba ulinde
Jumuiya Afrika Mashariki
Tuwezeshe kuishi kwa amani
Tutimize na malengo yetu.

2. Uzalendo pia mshikamano
Viwe msingi wa Umoja wetu
Natulinde Uhuru na Amani
Mila zetu na desturi zetu.

3. Viwandani na hata mashambani
Tufanye kazi sote kwa makini
Tujitoe kwa hali na mali
Tuijenge Jumuiya bora.


The EAC Partner States recognize that peace and security are pre-requisites to social and economic development in the region. Hence peace, security and stability find expression in the objectives and fundamental principles of the Community. For instance in Article 5 of the EAC Treaty, Partner State endeavor to promote Peace, Security and Stability within, and good neighborliness amongst themselves as one of their objectives.

The fundamental principles of the community as provided in Article 6 of the EAC Treaty also include ‘peaceful co-existence and good neighborliness, and peaceful settlement of disputes’. In Article 124 of the Treaty, Partner States agree to foster and maintain a conducive atmosphere to peace and security with a view to preventing managing and resolving disputes and conflicts amongst them.

In order to maintain and promote peace and stability within the region, Partner States have adopted common measures, strategies and programmes which include:

  • Enhancing exchange of criminal intelligence
  • Enhancing joint operations such as pursuit of criminals and joint border patrols
  • Establishing common communication facilities for border security
  • Developing a Regional Peace and Security strategy
  • Developing a Protocol on Peace and Security
  • Enhancing exchange of visits by security authorities
  • Exchange training programmes for security personnel
  • Establishing common mechanisms for the management of refugees

To this end, a Sectoral Council on Interstate Security was established to fast track cooperation in the peace and security sector under the following sub-themes:

Co-operation in Police Matters 

Under this sub sector much has been achieved through meetings of: EAC Chiefs of Police, Directors of Criminal Investigations, Registrars of Motor Vehicles, Heads of Counter Terrorism, Heads of Anti-Narcotics and Anti Human Trafficking.

In particular, Police Ranks in the region have been harmonized and a Police Liaison Office has been created and operationalized at the EAC Secretariat. A Regional Forensic Referral Centre has been established in Kampala Uganda to enhance the investigative capacity of the police forensics. Strategic Plan and Cooperation Agreement for the centre have been developed ; Procurement and installation of a state of the art integrated ballistics identification system has been completed at the centre and awareness creation already undertaken on the access and use of the ballistics services.

A handbook on the role of Police in the implementation of the integration process has been developed for all the police training institutions.

The EAC is also fighting the threat of piracy through the Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean (ESA-IO) Maritime Security Project with support from the Indian Ocean Commission. The Maritime Security program is being implemented in conjunction with the Indian Ocean Commission, COMESA and IGAD.

Exchange of criminal intelligence and other security information has been enhance through establishment of a joint intelligence sharing centre at the National Counter Terrorism Centre in Nairobi. A draft Cooperation Agreement on Counter Terrorism in the region has been developed to facilitate joint counter terrorism operations, joint investigations, surveillance reconnaissance and arrests, extraditions and exchange of terror suspects among Partner States among others. In addition Partner States are developing l-24/7 connectivity with Customs and Immigration in collaboration with INTERPOL. A lot has also been done in combating motor vehicle thefts in the region.

Cooperation among Prisons/Correctional Services

Partner States prisons/correctional services cooperate in a number of areas. The EAC Chiefs of Prisons/Correctional Services meet to share and exchange their experiences and best practices. The sub sector has developed a Cooperation agreement identifying areas of their cooperation. Through the ESA-IO Maritime Project prison facilities have been expanded to accommodate piracy suspects and trainings are being conducted for judicial officers in the region on Maritime Law to help in prosecution of piracy suspects. The EAC countries have joined with the Indian Ocean countries of Mauritius and Seychelles, to fight piracy in the Indian Ocean. Mentorship attachments and exchange visits by the Prisons/Correctional sub sector have also been conducted in Mauritius and in other EAC countries.

Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Programs

The long Porous borders, regional instability, the practice of cattle rustling by some pastoralist communities across the borders and a large refugee population in the region have contributed to proliferation of small arms and light weapons. A Regional Centre on Small Arms and Light Weapons (RECSA) has been established and hosted in Kenya. Focal Points have also been established in Partner States under the Nairobi Protocol on SALW to spearhead SALW activities at national level. Partner States have been working to reduce availability of arms to nomadic pastoral communities through joint disarmament programme, public awareness campaigns, remarking of SALW held and licenced and developing of National Action Plans for SALW. A Regional Policy on Arms Management has been developed to inform harmonization of legislation in SALW.

Development of an EAC Protocal on Peace & Security

Partner States have developed a protocol on Peace & Security with the objective of promoting peace, security and stability within the Community and good neighbourliness among the Partner States. In this regard common measures, strategies and programmes have been developed and agreements entered into for the effective implementation of the protocol.

In this protocol Partner States have agreed to cooperate in:

  • Conflict prevention, management and resolution
  • Prevention of genocide
  • Combating terrorism
  • Peace support operations
  • Management of refugees
  • Disaster Management
  • Control of proliferation of small arms and light weapons
  • Combating transnational and cross border crimes – including drugs and human trafficking, illegal migration, cybercrime, money laundering and motor vehicle theft
  • Prisons and correctional services including exchange of prisons, detention, custody and rehabilitation of offenders.

The Protocol is yet to be ratified by all the EAC member States to enable operationalization.

Development of a Regional Peace and Security Strategy

Since inception, the EAC has endeavored to create a framework and structures to address issues of peace and security. However, these structures lacked clear strategic direction on the critical areas of cooperation. This led to the development of a Regional Strategy on Peace and Security. The Strategy became a guiding framework in addressing peace and security issues in the region. It was developed through a highly consultative and inclusive process before being adopted by the 13th Council of Ministers meeting held in November, 2006.

The strategy covers collaboration on cross border crimes, drug trafficking, terrorism, money laundering, exchange of visits by security authorities, establishing regional disaster management mechanisms, etc. It strives to provide security within the region through enhanced cooperation.

The strategy has fifteen (15) goals it seeks to achieve, each goal having a number of objectives and strategies for implementing them.

Development of a Protocol on Combating Illicit Drug Trafficking in the E.A. Region

The EAC developed a protocol on combating illicit drug trafficking in the region with the objective to:

  • Reduce and eventually eliminate illicit drug trafficking, money laundering, illicit use and abuse of drugs
  • Eliminate the production of illicit drugs
  • Protect the region from being used as a conduit for drugs destined for the international market

The Community was concerned that illicit drug trafficking is a serious international problem and the region is being used as a conduit for illicit drugs for international markets. Cooperation among Partner States was therefore necessary to eradicate illicit drug production and trafficking. Partner States are in the process of implementing provisions of the Protocol.