Many have called for the mergers of countries in Africa, reducing them to even six. Is this a way to go?
East Africa to Become a Single State in 2010
The Nation (Nairobi)
November 27, 2004
Kenya is to join Uganda and Tanzania in a federal
superstate - and the date for the union has been set
as January 2010.
The Big Three East African countries will keep their
own identities with national Parliaments, Presidents
But they will share a federal Parliament and Cabinet,
a chief justice and supreme court, and a superstate
President, who will be chosen from the three countries
Seats in the federal Parliament will be shared out on
the basis of representation in the home countries and
will therefore echo the power of each party in the
The date of 2010 was agreed yesterday by the three
East African presidents, who endorsed a timetable put
forward by experts charged with fast-tracking regional
Their proposals were endorsed by President Kibaki,
Tanzania's President Benjamin Mkapa and Uganda's
President Yoweri Museveni in the northern Tanzanian
town of Arusha.
Welcoming the announcement, President Kibaki said: "It
is my desire that East African integration be achieved
in my lifetime. Our people are ready to embrace the
federation because of its benefits and would welcome
this move even before the 2010 calendar set out by the
The President said the timetable was "a great honour
to the founding fathers of East Africa who had a
vision for the prosperity of the region".
He went on: "Mwalimu Nyerere and Jomo Kenyatta had a
vision to unite all East Africans and today we have
the opportunity to embrace the ideals of East Africa".
The fast-tracking team, led by Attorney General Amos
Wako, worked out how to speed up the start of the East
African federation for the Heads of State's sixth
A Press statement issued after the summit - also
attended by Burundi President Dometien Ndayizeye and
Rwanda prime minister Bernard Makuza - said the team
had presented "a realistic plan of implementation".
Giving the timetable during his speech at the Simba
Plenary Hall of the Arusha International Conference
Centre, Mr Wako said the three presidents will hold an
extraordinary summit in March next year to discuss the
report and decide the way forward.
Immediately after that a campaign will be launched to
sell the idea of political federation to the people of
East Africa - emphasising its benefits.
Continuing with the countdown to federation, Mr Wako
said that by January 2005:
- Holders of East African passports should be exempted
from immigration requirements within East Africa;
- The three countries should publish identification
documents acceptable to them, which will be recognised
at common borders to allow free movement of their
- Administrative structures should be in place to let
citizens living along common borders to move freely
- Clearing channels should be set up at borders and
entry points for citizens of the three countries; and
- Fishing in Lake Victoria should take place without
undue restrictions according to national boundaries
but should take into account the environment and
sustainability of the lake.
By July 2005, entry permits and work permits for
citizens of three states should be standardised.
By August 2005, East Africa should be a single air
space which should reduce air fares and travel time
within East Africa.
A constitutional commission should be appointed in
July 2005 to make a draft of a new federal
constitution, which should be ready by December 2007.
Meanwhile, by December 2006, there should be East
African identity cards for all citizens of the three
Then during 2008, Mr Wako said, a constitutional forum
of representatives from Parliaments of the partner
states and members of the East African Legislative
Assembly should debate and approve the constitution.
Then the Federation of East Africa will be launched in
January 2010, with a federal president and Cabinet,
members of the federal Parliament and the chief
justice and judges of the Federal Supreme Court sworn
>From 2010 to 2012 will be a period of consolidation,
with an electoral commission and other bodies provided
for under the federal constitution be put in place.
Federal constituencies would also be marked out.
Finally, between January and March 2013, the first
elections for a new federal president and federal
Parliament should take place.
Mr Wako said that to speed up the start of federation,
the team made several other recommendations, including
the restructuring the EAC Secretariat which is
currently short of both money and people.