President Yoweri Museveni, the new East African Community Chairman, has emphasised the need for integration at the 18th Ordinary Summit of EAC Heads of State held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Museveni told his audience that regional integration means prosperity, unity and security, emphasising the exploitation of the Swahili language to bring east Africans together.
“The people of East Africa are interlinked, I can address people all the way from Uganda to Mwanza in my dialect,” he noted.
He added: “We have the advantage of Swahili, a language not owned by a tribe, we can’t fail to unite to guarantee our future.”
The President even changed to Swahili to stress his point: “Africa tunaishi kwa bahati. Integration of the East African Community is for our region’s prosperity and security.”
He said the U.S., China, Russia and India have gone to the moon, “only we [Africa, EAC] are still here”.
“I have been officially mandated to harmonize the vision on this issue of EPA [Economic Partnership Agreement] within member States. Burundi is a member of the East African Community. How can they sign EPA with the European Union when they are under sanctions?” wondered Museveni who earlier urged the west not to take decisions on African countries without consulting the continent.
Earlier during the summit, the regional leaders [four were represented] discussed European Union-EAC Partnership Agreement, sustainable mechanism for financing the Community and review the progress reports on the EAC political federation and admission of Somalia to the Community.
The summit then sworn in Hon. Justice Dr. Charles Nyawelo from South Sudan to the 1st Instance Division of the East African Court of Justice.
The summit also appointed Eng. Steven Mlote from Tanzania as Deputy Secretary General to the EAC.