Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Integration of the East African Community

On 26th July 2014, panelists appeared on HITS FM to discuss the integration of the East African Community. “Integration means different countries coming together to form one community/country. The integration of the East African Community will include countries like Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. Other countries like Congo and South Sudan are also in the process of joining the East African integration”, said Mitsera Kasukali, the Executive Director of CABS (Community Agro Business Capacity Services) in Kabarole District. The panelist was discussing on ToroDev’s supported live radio discussion called ‘Orukurato Program’, a 2hr weekly radio program that discusses issues of accountability every Saturday (08:00 – 10:00) pm. 

Leaders of the East African Community member countries
During the discussion, Mr. Kasukali went ahead to indicate the aim of the integration. “The East African integration started in 1999 with an aim of widening and deepening the cooperation of the member countries. There are four chapters that will form the integration which include customs union; removing boundaries of the countries, common markets; member countries will have rights of employment and residence, monetary union; getting a single currency and political federation; getting one president”. 

The live radio discussion was also attended by Hon Businge Prosper, the LCV Councilor of West Division in Fort Portal Municipality, Kabarole District, who highlighted the reasons why the past federation collapsed. “The past federation collapsed because there were political differences, disagreements in sharing the benefits, greedy leaders who were looking for wealth and power and also failure to sensitize the local citizens about the integration.  All member countries should therefore avoid these challenges by harmonizing presidential term limits and also be willing to integrate”.

Local listeners also participated in the live radio discussion through call ins and using the SMS plat form to raise their issues and concerns. “Service delivery in Uganda is being affected by the high levels of corruption”, said Mubangizi from Mbarara District, “Uganda is so corrupt to join the East African integration”, said Ategeka from Kabarole District, “Local citizens need to be sensitized about the integration before it takes place”, said a caller from Mbarara District.

The live radio discussion was moderated by Mr. Kasigazi Willy Donanto and is supported by SIDA/CIPESA and SPIDER/Stockholm University on a project aimed at using appropriate ICT tools to promote democratic engagement in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.


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