Mbidde: M7 Isolating Tanzania Infringes EAC Treaty


visit geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>In an exclusive interview with site geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>ChimpCorpsorder geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”> on Monday in Kampala, EALA and DP Legal adviser, Fred Mukasa Mbidde emphasised EAC lawyers are set to challenge the setting and the decisions taken by Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda towards the East African Federation without Tanzania and Burundi.

“Heads of states can meet on the implementation of already agreed upon protocol but cannot meet to include among others, on the decision of a new protocol; they can only discuss matters that are within the parameters of the issues agreed upon by the EAC,” Mbidde clarified.

President Museveni has since deied reports that Tanzania is being isolated, saying the new Tripartite arrangements between South Sudan Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda are aimed at addressing the infrastrural bottlenecks hurting economies along the northern corrdor.

However, Tanzanian leader, Jakaa Kikwete last week said he had feeling that his country was being isolated.

Mbidde further noted that the three countries are taking steps basing on the principle of Variable geometry which is provided for under Article 7 of the treaty.

The principle of ‘Variable geometry’ as one of the principles espoused in the treaty for the establishment of the EAC, allows other member states to move faster and implement decisions and it is being used against Tanzania and Burundi by the other three member states of Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya.

Mbidde explained that this is not a principle that applies on matters to which decisions have not been taken by consensus; under Article 14, 15 and rule 13 of the negotiation committee, the EAC takes its decisions by consensus which requires that majority of the members must be available during decision making.

He added: “This principle applies within the meaning of East Africa only on matters that have already been agreed upon by the EAC, the Summit, by the council of Ministers and the assembly but the implementation can be adopted on different paces.”

The Principle Of Variable Geometry

The principle is reflected under Article 7 of the treaty which allows a group within partner states within EAC to move faster than other members on implementation of projects.

Mbidde argued that the same principle allows a group of partner states to be exempted from provisions of the treaty until negotiated.

“These principles have been invoked by other jurisdictions like the SADC jurisdiction which created the South African Customs Union but some SADC member countries opted out like DRC and Malawi,” he added.

Mbidde also clarified that the European Union subscribes to a protocol on immigration and free movement of persons but Britain opted out of it and that’s why they do not operate a Siegen Visa but a British Visa showing that they opted out of the this protocol but are still part of the totality of the European integration.

“The neglecting of Tanzania and Burundi in the implementation of some decisions is not a problem to the integration but it’s the principle at work,” he added.

Mbidde, however, observed that the principle has got its own guidelines and frame workers that must be followed yet “it is not an operational principle of the EAC but an implementation principle”.

It should be noted, however, that Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda have always been seen conducting several summits and taking on decisions without the involvement of Tanzania and Burundi.

This has caused a lot of concern from several groups of people who see it as a move aimed at eliminating Tanzania from the EAC yet it is a belief held by many that without Tanzania, the EAC is heading to a dead end.


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