The Role of national interest in regional integration : : the case of Kenya in the East African community 2000-2007
Since the establishment of the new EAC, Kenya has on several occasions failed to comply with the EAC Treaty to safeguard its own national interest. This study seeks to investigate the role of national interest in regional integration by specifically evaluating the impact of Kenya's national interest on regional integration in the EAC. In review of theories of integration, the study notes that the theories of integration have managed to account for some aspects of regional integration in Africa and failed to account for others. Theories of integration are relevant to the integration process in Africa and East Africa in particular, but they do not sufficiently describe the events thereof. The study further establishes that national interest has a negative impact on regional integration in the EAC and that the realist theory focus on national interest and survival may be the key to understanding why functionalism and neo-functionalist led regional integration has failed in Africa. By cross-examining Kenya's adherence to the EAC Treaty, the chapter concludes that Kenya has in some instances prioritized its national interest over regional interests. It further noted that in so doing, Kenya hampers the attainment of the national interest of the other countries in the community and the overall goal of regional integration in the EAC. The study establishes that national interest could destabilise regional integration unless it is subordinated to regional interests. Thus, states have to come up with ways of managing interests in order to achieve their integration goals. The study identifies possible ways of managing national interest to enhance regional integration: starting with a political federation in the EAC would minimize the current divided loyalty -between national and regional interests; involving citizens, addressing the issue of multiple memberships to regional integration schemes and setting up mechanisms for conflict resolution amongst others.