Towards Expedient Integration Of The Eac: Navigating The Dichotomy Between Implementation Of The Variable Geometry Approach Versus Adoption Of The Consensus Approach
Decision making and implementation of regional decisions are key in determining the pace of integration of a regional bloc. This study interrogates whether consensual decision making and implementation by variable geometry can work together in sustaining the pace of integration of the East African Community. The purpose of this is to determine whether the East African Community needs to adopt a different decision making mechanism. This study analyzes the decision making process adopted by the East African Community, which is consensual decision making, and how it has impacted its pace of integration. In doing so, this study relies on the intergovernmentalism theory as it takes into account the importance of the state in the integration process. It further acknowledges that a single state can throw the entire integration process into turmoil as a single member state can veto a decision hence holding back the other member states and slowing down the pace of integration This study further looks at the application of variable geometry when implementing Community decisions, particularly its ability to allow the partner states that are willing to implement Community decisions to do so without being held back by the slower partner states. The effect of this is that partner states are able to fast track the pace of integration. This study finds that whereas consensual decision making slows down the pace of integration, variable geometry comes in to fast track the pace of integration at the point of implementation. This then makes it difficult to reconcile the two approaches as their impact on the pace of integration appears to be in stark contrast. This study therefore establishes that it is necessary for a regional bloc to have a decision making mechanism that does not slow down the pace of integration and which can work together with variable geometry in sustaining the integration momentum.
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