Leaders to reject Juba, Somalia EAC bids

South Sudan submitted its bid late last year while Somalia submitted its application in February this year and Sirma emphasised that they there’s a good chance they’ll reject the two countries/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 26 – East African Head of State are likely to reject Somalia and South Sudan’s applications to become part of the East African Community (EAC) when they meet on November 30 for the 14th Heads of State Summit in Nairobi.

Since November 19, senior government officials drawn from the five partner states have been meeting in Nairobi to deliberate on various issues related to the integration. EAC Minister Musa Sirma said that the war-torn countries qualify on grounds of sharing borders with Kenya, but they score low on their human rights records and political stability.

“We tasked a verification team which went to the countries to evaluate if they fit the criteria, and they will present the report today (Monday) to the council and later give recommendations to the Heads of State,” he said.

He explained that the team held several meetings with the governments of South Sudan and Somalia officials, including ministers, deputy ministers, undersecretaries, the national legislative assembly, the Judiciary and civil society and private sector representatives.

“In considering South Sudan’s application, it may be noted that out of the country’s total landmass of 660,000 square kilometres, 35 percent is under forest cover while only four percent of the land is utilised for agricultural activities despite the vast expanse of arable land,” he said.

He noted that the agricultural activities are mainly subsistence small-holdings with a few varieties of crops and the livestock population is estimated to be between 10-15 million with a similar number of sheep and goats.

“There are three options for the prospective countries. One is to be admitted as full members; the second is to be admitted as an associate member; and thirdly is to be admitted as an observer,” he explained.

South Sudan submitted its bid late last year while Somalia submitted its application in February this year and Sirma emphasised that they there’s a good chance they’ll reject the two countries although they need more nations to join the EAC in order to foster competition, gain access to wider markets through trade, allow for larger and diversified investments and production, provide socioeconomic and political stability as well as bargaining power for the member countries.

“The most unlikely thing to happen is admission, but other options are possible,” he revealed.

“You must understand that South Sudan is a young country. They do meet the criteria of being a neighbour, but it’s just the lack of economic activities and man power, but all other avenues are possible,” he added.

Sirma explained that the verification committee was composed of three experts from each partner state and three experts from the Secretariat and they were dispatched to undertake the verification of the application of South Sudan and Somalia to join the EAC.

“Enlarging the country membership of the East African Community to include the Republic of Somalia and South Sudan may contribute to regional peace, security, stability and development, but the matter calls for proper timing and wider consultations with other international players involved, especially those in the Somali peace initiatives,” he explained.

He acknowledged that the council was cognisant of the transitional nature of governance in the Republic of adding that, “the council also considered the fact that there are ongoing pacification efforts, including the Kampala Accord regarding regional political peace initiative and the African Union initiative, such as the involvement of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).”

The East African Community comprises Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda which entered a common market in 2010 and Sirma revealed that they are still working to form a monetary union by the end of the year, before ultimately forming a political federation.

“Most experts have warned that the region’s single currency could crumble due to low intra-regional trade, administrative barriers and failure to implement previous stages of integration,” he said.

“On November 28, the presidents will approve new proposals on setting up a single customs territory and they will also endorse a new common external tariff structure and rules of origin and give a nod to new powers to extend the jurisdiction of the East African Court of Justice,” he added.

The presidents are due to spend their first day in Kenya officially launching the Arusha-Namanga-Athi River Road.

  • http://www.facebook.com/farhan.baana Farhan Baana

    It is good news for Somalia, because we do not want Kenyans to move freely in our country because Somalis need referral visa when they are visiting Kenya. Somalia will never ever be part of EAC as long as Kenya is part of it.

    • finetouch

      Somalia exist because of kenya.

  • anonymous

    what garbage this is. I would reprimand the Somali government for even applying to this ludicrous organisation if I could. I would see it as a blessing if somalia didnt get in. God willing Somalia will raise from the ashes whether the kenyans like it or not. It doesnt matter how much you try to sabotage us. The tables will turn someday.

  • http://twitter.com/Buuxiye Buuxiye

    Somali-Republic does not exist anymore and ceased to exist on 18 May 1991 when the 2-STATES that form the Somali-republic broke divided into their original Sovereign borders of Somaliland & Somalia. It sounds ridiculous to believe but yes the Somali language is spoken in 5 countries in the horn of Africa namely: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somaliland, Somalia and Kenya. During independence all the Somalis of the Horn attempted to unite under a single STATE called Somali-Republic. Somaliland and Somalia were the first two countries to gain independence and began the UNION.

    It is rather amusing to know that For a brief period in Somaliland’s post colonial history Somaliland was the only Recognized Somali-speaking state in Africa from 26th Jun 1960 until Somalia also gained independence. In that brief period 35-countries spear headed by Israel Gave their full international recognition to Somaliland. Driven by the emotions of a Unitary Somali speaking state comprised of Djibouti, Ethiopian-Hawd, Somaliland, Somalia and Kenya-NFD. Somaliland and Somalia formed an unratified Union that caused 31years of destruction for all somalis.

    18 May 1991 following a bitter struggle for re-independence Somaliland gain full control of it’s state territory and held a Referendum in which the Majority of Somaliland’s population voted for regaining own sovereignty and Dissolution of the 1960Union between Somaliland & Somalia.

    Somaliland is yet to receive international recognition as the AU has totally ignored the plea and rights of the Somaliland republic to it’s Recognition and acceptance within the AU family. For 21 years Somaliland republic’s rights have been ignored by the AU family and they are quick to recognize a Government SELECTED by 271 former warlords, terrorists and corrupt officials of the transitional government of Somalia.

    Somalia does not have the credibility nor the right to make any application to the AU or any other body for so long as the 2-STATES dialogue between Somaliland and Somalia have not reached a mutually accepted conclusion. Somalia does not represent the Somali-Republic and however confusing this seems one needs to remember Somalia is 50% of the former Somali-Republic that Existed between 1Jul 1960 till 18 May 1991.

    Somalia must reapply it’s membership only after it’s relationship with somaliland has been concluded and a 2-STATE solution reached. ~once that has come to pass Somalia is more then welcome to apply for any institution of it’s choice for the state territory which it represents.

    Just remember one thing There is more then one country where Somali is the language of the state!!!

    Somalia’s applications are all fraudulent until Somaliland issue is resolved.

    • anonymous

      All this you have posted is of your own making and does not reflect reality

    • ijahman

      Somalia should be one Federal Republic Spanning from Ethiopia-Hawd-Ogaden, Kenia NFD to Mainland Somalia including the little Somaliland. The small issues – mostly clan will come to pass and find solutions. Its just a matter of time.