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Politics behind EAC Secretary General vacant seat

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By GLV reporter.

The vacancy created by the impending exit of East African Community Secretary General Juma Mwapachu is stirring-up hot politics, between Rwanda and Burundi on the one hand and Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda on the other.

Rwanda and Burundi say that the new entrants argument that they are “too young to lead the bloc” alleged by Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya is not valid due to the structure of the bloc leadership and regulations.

The claim published by Kenyan media says that Rwanda and Burundi are not likely to take the seat— apparently because the new member countries are “too young” have been rubbished by Rwanda minister of EAC, Monique Mukaruriza.

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga are having close ties probably have been talking about the hot seat, divorcing ICC and much more, according to the sources.  Mr.Odinga joined the Ugandan leader on the campaign trail three weeks ago.

Rwanda is making no secret of the fact that it is interested in putting forward a candidate to vie for the post when it falls vacant in April after the incumbent, Mr Mwapachu, a Tanzanian, steps down on rotation.

According to the Treaty establishing the body, the secretary general has to come from a different member state after the tenure of each five-year, and Rwanda’s EAC Affairs Minister Monique Mukaruliza said that her  “country is ready for the seat.”

“Under the traditional rotation arrangement, it is supposed to be Rwanda or Burundi’s turn to take over,” she said.

“We shall agree with Burundi who comes first because we joined the bloc at the same time, but if Burundi agrees, we shall occupy the chair,” Mukaruriza added.

She argued that the principle of the Treaty for the establishment of the EAC is clear about the occupancy of the post of secretary-general.

Ms Mukaruliza added that according to Article 67 of the treaty, the secretary-general shall be appointed by the Summit upon nomination by the relevant Head of State under the principle of rotation.

Rwanda currently has the youthful lawyer Alloys Mutabingwa as Deputy Secretary-General in charge of Planning and Infrastructure, and the most likely candidate for the post, should Rwanda succeed in its bid for the powerful position.

Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania are yet to announce officially what they think about the seat but, the sources who are familiar with the system say that the issue is being discussed behind corridors and consultations are going on to convince Rwanda and Burundi to accept the begin a new tenure beginning the time Rwanda and Burundi joined.

As three countries carry on consultations for the bloc leadership to be in safe hands, Rwanda and Burundi are agreeing on the candidate to be of Rwanda since President Nkurunziza is currently the chairman.

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