From; Public Communications Office

Date: 18.8.2015

The treaty establishing the current East African Community (EAC) provides for entrenchment of citizens of the Community in the entire process of integration, a Principal Secretary in the State Department of East African Affairs, Mr. John O. Konchellah has said.

He added that lessons learnt during the collapse of the premier EAC (1967-1977) was due to the non-involvement of the key stakeholders and the wider citizenry in the formulation and implementation of the cooperation agenda, forcing the current Partner states to involve all stakeholders in the decision making to make integration process a success.

He was speaking today in Machakos when he opened a two-day National Dialogue forum at a Machakos hotel. Participants included National government officials, civil society, private sector players, persons with disability, and other interest groups. He said the forum was anchored on article 127(4)m of the treaty establishing the East African Treaty establishing the East African Community(EAC), which provides that “The EAC shall provide forums for consultations between private sector, civil society organizations, other interest groups and appropriate institutions of the Community, and also The Directive of the19th Council of Ministers which adopted the National Dialogue framework and underscored the importance of the Dialogue and the need to have regular conversation with key stakeholders.

The principal secretary pointed out that in Kenya, the inaugural forum was aimed at expanding the inclusivity of the private sector organizations and civil society organizations and other stakeholders in the EAC integration.

Trade Mark East Africa’s (TMEA) representative Mr. Simon Konzolo said his organization was committed to supporting regional integration and trade. TMEA is also addressing the congestion of goods at Mombasa port with a view to hastening its clearance, and the domestication of the regional policies with EAC.

An Acting Director of Social Affairs in the ministry Ms Alice Yalla said the EAC was currently placing emphasis on activities of cooperation in social security, and development of the people of EAC under the management of cross cutting social concerns of the United Nations Millennium development goals.

These activities, she added, are being backstopped by various programmes in health, education, science and technology, gender and security development.

The Treaty of the EAC puts emphasis on citizen participation in the integration process. The preamble recognizes that lack of participation was a key contributor to the dissolution of the original East African Community. The lack of participation by citizens of East Africa in the integration process made it purely state process driven by leaders.

The workshop in also being attended by the National Dialogue chairman mr. Masheti Masinjila, Deputy Director in the ministry Mr. Kennedy Nyambati, assistant Directors; Mr. Samuel Kahenu, and Mr. Ngunjiri.