NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 27 – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday committed to ensure a more united and prosperous East African Community (EAC) as he took over the chairmanship of the regional bloc.
The President assured that he will spare no effort towards the realization of the shared aspirations that gave rebirth to the community 20 years ago.
“Thank you for showing confidence, faith and trust in me. I promise to do all I can to take our region to greater heights,” the President said.
President Kenyatta spoke when he addressed the 21st Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State held virtually due to Covid-19 after taking over the chairmanship from Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.
The President paid glowing tribute to the late former President Daniel Arap Moi and the late former President Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania, acknowledging the role they played together with President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda in the rebirth of EAC 20 years ago.
The Kenyan Head of State also took the opportunity to outline his vision for the region, saying he will focus on strengthening of partnerships to enhance intra-EAC connectivity and ensuring sustainable implementation of projects and programs in productive sectors.
“It is desirable that the objectives of the Customs Union, Common Market and Monetary Union; and easier cross-border movement of goods, people and services be realized,” President Kenyatta said.
He emphasized the need for partner states to harmonize their commitment on free movement of people, workers and services as envisaged in the region’s common market protocol.
In this regard, President Kenyatta announced Kenya’s decision to remove visa requirement for South Sudanese nationals visiting the country as an act of reciprocity.
During the summit, Dr Peter Mutuku Mathuki of Kenya was sworn in as the new EAC Secretary General for a five-year non-renewable term with effect from 25th April 2021. Dr Mathuki took over from Amb Libérat Mfumukeko of Burundi whose term is ending.
The summit, chaired by President Kenyatta, also witnessed the appointment of six new Judges of the East African Court of Justice, including Kenya’s Justice Kathurima M’inoti who joins the Appellate Division of the EA Court of Justice.
Speaking as he handed over to President Kenyatta, President Kagame congratulated President Kenyatta on his assumption of the chairmanship of the EAC and welcomed Dr Mathuki as the new EAC Secretary General.
Other speakers included President Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi and President Museveni of Uganda while the speech of host President John Magufuli was read by Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan.