East African Community (EAC) heads of state on Saturday directed the Council of Ministers to come up with a verification report by November, this year, regarding an admission request of South Sudan to join the five-nation regional bloc.
The date was set at a closed-door meeting in Arusha, Tanzania, after the leaders received an initial report of the EAC Council of Ministers.
The meeting was attended by Presidents Mwai Kibaki of Kenya (Summit Chairman),Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and Paul Kagame of Rwanda. Burundi’s President Pierre Nkuruzinza was represented by his First Vice President Therence Sinunguruza.
The presidents expressed concern on the ongoing conflict between the newly independent Southern Sudan and Republic of Sudan and urged leaders of the two countries to return to the negotiating table for a peaceful resolution said Dr Richard Sezibera, EAC Secretary General, in the communiqué read at the close of the meeting.
The EAC in the communiqué, a copy of which has been availed to EANA, also appreciated the role the EAC Partner States have played in resolving the conflict in the two Sudans and asserted further commitment in assisting to solve disputes bordering the region’s countries through peaceful means.
The Presidents in another milestone decision has directed for the extension of the jurisdiction of the EA Court of Justice to cover, among other crimes against humanity.
It has ordered for the Amendment of the Treaty establishing the EACJ and the EAC Council of Ministers to consider the matter before the end of next month and report to an extra-ordinary Summit to be convened immediately after that.
The EACJ’s extension of jurisdiction comes up suddenly following pressure pile up in Kenya not to allow four top personalities to be tried before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands for the December 2007 post-election violence in Kenya, which left about 1,500 killed and 3,500 injured and up to 600, 000 forcibly displaced. During 60 days of violence, there were hundreds of rapes, possibly more, and over 100, 000 properties were destroyed in six of Kenya’s eight provinces.
The Summit commended the exemplary role played by Uganda’s Ms Beatrice Kiraso, the outgoing EAC Deputy Secretary General in Charge of Political Federation, during the past six years.
The 43-year-old-Jessica Eriyo, sometimes spelled Jesca Eriyo, has been appointed as a replacement for Ms Kiraso, who according to EANA sources, is heading to join the United Nations as a Head of UN Mission for East and Southern Africa in Lusaka, Zambia.
Ms Eriyo is a Ugandan educator, social worker and politician. She served as the State Minister for the Environment in the Ugandan Cabinet, from 2006 until 2011.In the cabinet reshuffle of 27 May 2011, she was dropped from the cabinet and was replaced by Flavia Munaaba.
She also served as the elected Member of Parliament representing Adjumani District Women's Constituency, from 2001 until 2011. In the 2011 national elections, she lost to Jesca Ababiku, an Independent candidate, who is the incumbent MP.
As it was largely expected, the Summit has renewed contract for the last and final three years of a Deputy Secretary General (In charge of Productive and Social Sectors) Jean-Claude Nsengivumva from Burundi.
The appointment of new Deputy Secretary General will see shake up in the duties assigned to four deputy secretaries general next week.
The Summit has adopted in principle the destination model of clearance of goods where assessment and collection of revenue is at the first point of entry and revenues are remitted to the destination partner states subject to the fulfillment of key pre-conditions to be developed by the high level task force. The Summit directed the council to initiate its operationalization and report progress at November Summit.
The EA Presidents signed the Protocol on the regional co-operation in defense. The Protocol should be ratified and instruments of ratification deposited with the EAC Secretary General by 30th November 2012 and that the negotiations on the mutual defence pact commence to immediately thereafter.
The Protocol upgrades the co-operation in defence matters from the current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The Presidents were expected to leave for their respective homes today evening.