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East African Politics

Although the eastern part of Africa is now commonly known as Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, geographically and geopolitically, there are altogether 19 territories that constitute it. Currently, Rwanda and Burundi are pushing to be included as part of the main states in this region of Africa. The population here is currently over one hundred million and an area of 1.8 million square kilometers which comprises of natural resources like mines, forests and farmlands. Also a site of breathtaking views and scenes which are targets for discovering, Mt.Kilimanjaro and Lake Victoria as examples (Wikipedia, 2007).

Kenya and Uganda were colonies of the British while Tanzania was under the Germans. However, when Germany was defeated in World War II, Tanzania also became a colony of Great Britain. Resistant movements were formed which lead to independence, Tanzania being the first to experience it. Soon after, the first Federation in East Africa was formed but did not last for long. Different philosophies which they individually followed were the main cause of this downfall. A political union was already underway during this time and the East African Legislative Assembly was then formed (Community, 2004-2006). The EALA manages mostly the budget of the community and handles the affairs concerning the Treaty. The rotary system was introduced and continues to be used (Tordoff, 1967).

To ensure that people adhere to the law interpreted and applied with fulfillment with the East African Treaty of 1999, the East African Court of Justice was formed. The education system in the three states varies only a little. Each state adopted the British way of educating. Most students prefer to go to Kenya which is believed to be where they can attain a higher education.

The East African shilling ceased to be used when the states attained independence from the British. Each introduced its own currency. However, proposals are being made to unify the currency and the market.

Kenya being the wealthiest among the three states as of the present will have to pay duty for goods entering the other two states (Uganda and Tanzania) until 2010 (Wikipedia, 2007). A common system is used for other countries supplying the three. Partner states give equal contribution for the core budget. Mobilized resources from within and outside the region funds regional programs and projects. Having so much in common gives the three states numerous benefits like wider market for goods which in turn would attract more investors. Also, good quality goods will be made cheaper because of competition. An increase on tourism earnings once the Single Tourist Visa is approved because it may be used for the three current member states of the EAC.

One cause of political drawbacks is time. Negotiations and discussions require enough time and sometimes the estimated time frame did not always meet reality. The sequencing may be off and the estimated completion may not be met. Specific country conditions are sometimes forgotten to take into consideration. Another one is decision making. It plays a crucial part and has to be done in legal steps but some operations were not totally measured. Resource constraints also cause delays. Activities require resources to be implemented. Privatization and restructuring were not handled well due to pressure from outside the government. In addition to those mentioned, partner states are not equal in wealth and development.

To achieve the community’s goals, peace, security, stability and good neighborliness is also needed. Fundamental and operational principles should be strengthened. There should be no gender discrimination. Work towards a people-centered growth and encourage good governance. Maintain the long standing bond in all aspects by Partner States and relations between the people of the region (Community, 2006).

Charles Njogu is a student at New York University and the author of the best religious noval of the year, ‘the Echoes of Heaven: God’s Love is Better Than Life Itself.”

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