Yohane Mbeeya Moono
An Alumni of the Zambia Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies
Reuters Trained Journalist
The Continental bloc the African Union has eight (8) Regional Economic Communities which help to consolidate the mandate of the Continental bloc. Among the Regional Economic Communities is the Southern African Development Community(SADC), Economic Commision Of West African States (ECOWAS), the East African Community (EAC) among others.
The East African Community is responsible for the economic, political and social activities of the East African bloc. The seven members of the of the East African Community include; Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Democratic Republic of Congo was recently admitted to the Arusha based Regional Economic Community.
The East African Community has prioritized peace and economic prosperity for the region which is blossoming economically with Rwanda and Tanzania being among the steadily improving economies over the years. Kenya remains the biggest economy in the region with Nairobi slowly growing into a regional commercial hub.
The Community has in the recent months been blighted by growing tension between two members. Kinshasa and Kigali have been at loggerheads recently with the former accusing the latter of sponsoring the M23 rebels in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Kinshasa recently ordered Rwandan Ambassador to leave the country amid heightened accusations over Kigali’s involvement in the tension in the Eastern Congo. Kigali has continuously denied these allegations
Kenyan President William Samoei Ruto recently appointed his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta as the peace envoy to the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa. This is because Kenyatta had started the mediation process of the peace process in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa.
The M23 rebels in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo are a serious security threat to the Great Lakes Region and the East African Community has a bigger role to play in order to ensure that the tensions between the two members doest not escalate any further. President of the Democratic Republic of Congo Felix Tshishekedi and Paul Kagame have met on several occasions in order to diffuse the growing tension. However, the allegations have refused to die down and has resulted in the expulsion of the Rwandese Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo
The Regional body needs to do more through mediation talks and other diplomatic engagements between the two members. These talks should be initiated by the prominent leaders of the community in order for this tension to be diffused. This has the potential to derail meaningful development that the people of the East African Community are yearning for. The two nations have enormous economic potential which can easily transform the economic landscape of the East African Community. This is why it is very important that the two countries come together and channel their tension economic transformation.
The East African Community which envisages to come together to form a super-state under a single political unit needs to assemble all the necessary and available Arsenal to diffuse the tension that is threatening the coming to fruition of the Community’s vision.