ARUSHA, TANZANIA: Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday committed to ensuring a more united and prosperous East African Community (EAC) as he took over the chairmanship of the regional bloc.
Kenyatta assured that he will work towards the realization of the shared aspirations of member states.
“Thank you for showing confidence, faith, and trust in me. I promise to do all I can to take our region to greater heights,” Kenyatta said as he addressed the 21st Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State held virtually due to Covid-19. “It is desirable that the objectives of the customs union, common market and monetary union; and easier cross-border movement of goods, people and services be realized.”
He emphasized the need to harmonize member states’ commitment to the free movement of people, workers, and services as envisaged in the region’s common market protocol.
Kenyatta takes over the EAC chairmanship from Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.
Dr. Peter Mutuku Mathuki also a Kenyan was sworn in as the new EAC Secretary-General for a five-year non-renewable term with effect from 25th April 2021, replacing Amb. Libérat Mfumukeko of Burundi.
The summit also witnessed the appointment of six new Judges of the East African Court of Justice.
The heads of states also considered a report on the accelerated integration of the Republic of South Sudan into the EAC and directed the council to undertake the verification exercises for the admission of the Federal Republic of Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo into the EAC.
The summit urged the Republic of Burundi, the Republic of South Sudan, and the United Republic of Tanzania to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) by 30th June 2021. Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda already ratified the agreement.
Kagame hands over
Speaking as he handed over to President Kenyatta, President Kagame congratulated President Kenyatta on his assumption of the chairmanship of the EAC and welcomed Dr Mathuki as the new EAC Secretary General.
Other speakers included President Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi and President Museveni of Uganda while the speech of host President John Magufuli was read by Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan.