NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 22 – Deputy President William Ruto has reiterated the need for East African States to forge a united future under a political and economic federation saying a united region will compete more effectively at the global stage.
Speaking when he laid a foundation stone for the William Ruto of African and Leadership Studies at Makerere University in Kampala on Saturday, Ruto said a federation portends a brighter future for the region.
“We’ll be much better as East Africans working together than Ugandans, Tanzanians or Burundians working on their own. The sooner we realize that that is what the future portends for us, the better for us,” he remarked.
“It is time we begin to fashion a new engagement and framework that is in the best interest of us as East Africans and as Africans,” Ruto emphasized.
The DP noted that existing boarders among nations in the region were created by colonial masters who did not have the interest of the region and the continent at heart.
“All of us are a product of an exercise that we never participated in. Uganda exists today in the manner in which it does, as Kenya, as the rest of our continent in an exercise that involves people who were not looking at our best interests; they were looking at their best interests.”
Ruto said the numerical advantage resulting from a federation will give East Africa better bargaining power with countries such as China.
“When you think of a President of a country with 30 million people having a meeting with the President of China with 1.5 billion people and it is supposed to be a meeting of equals, it is quite strange. We need to think of how we’re going to use scale to bargain better.”
Ruto was speaking after paying a courtesy call to President Yoweri Museveni at Mubende State Lodge, where the two discussed regional integration and other matter of mutual interest.
Museveni pledged Sh10 million towards the construction of the William Ruto Institute of African and Leadership Studies at Makerere University.
“This institute would go a long way in Africans deepening their knowledge base and furthering research that would transform Africa,” he said.
Ruto was accompanied by Governor Jackson Mandago (Uasin-Gishu), MPs Kimani Ichungwa (Kikuyu), Mwatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga) and Charles Njagagua (Mbeere North).
Ugandan officials who present during the laying of a foundation stone at the proposed William Ruto Institute of African and Leadership Studies included Ministers Kahinda Otafiire (EAC) and Frank Tumwebaze (Gender) and Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe.