Regionalism in Eastern Africa: Lessons Learnt From the Defunct East African Community
This study examines the extent at which the revived East African Community institutions have resolved the institutional problems that bedeviled the defunct of East African Community. The study identified the institutional problems of the defunct EAC and draws lessons learnt to help in the formation of the revived one. The study employs both primary and secondary methods of data collection. Primary data was derived from interviews with key informants from government ministries and experts. The informants were purposely selected for their experience and competence in EAC matters. Secondary data was derived from books, journals, statistical year books and government publications. The study employs national interest theory and rational choice theory in examining the formation and functions of the EAC institutions. The study finds that most institutions in the revived EAC are similar to those of the defunct one but with enhanced and more power and functions to overcome the challenges of the latter. The institutions examined in the study include, the Authority, the East African Minister, the five Councils, the East African common market, the East African Legislative Assembly, the court of appeal for East Africa and the Industrial Court of the defunct EAC. The study examines, the Summit, the Council (East African Ministers), the Secretariat, East African Court of Justice, the sectoral and coordination committee, and the EALA. The major problems of the defunct EAC institutions identified were centralization of power by the Authority, failure of the Authority to delegate power to the lower institutions, the lack of consensus of decisions in the Authority due to the small number of Authority membership, failure to involve people in decision making, lack of clear power hierarchy among other institutions except the Authority and dormant courts due to political and technical meddling. The solutions of these problems in the second EAC included, strengthening of the lower level institutions function and increasing their powers and creating other institutions to cope with contemporary challenges. The number of the Summit members was increased to five which avoided the problem of consensus deadlock and its functions reduced or delegated. The Authority now involves and recognizes the role of civil society in regional matters. The study established that the community’s economic driving sectors are now monitored by people who are experienced and have competence through sectoral committees. The need to run the community professionally and well was done through the establishment of the secretariat.
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