The ‘coalition of the willing’ leaders are meeting for
the tripartite infrastructure summit in Rwanda’s
capital Kigali, isolating Tanzania for the third time.
The three-day summit brings together East African
Community countries that have jointly agreed to
fast-track the regional integration, especially on
aspects of monetary union and political federation.
Tanzania has been isolated by the ‘coalition of the
willing’, which comprises Kenya, Uganda and
Dar es Salaam has, for a long time, faced accusations
of dragging its feet on EAC integration matters,
especially on its rigid position on issues of
citizenship, land ownership and political federation.
Last week Dar es Salaam strongly reacted to its
isolation from the infrastructure talks, accusing the
coalition of threatening EAC integration.
“So long as Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda have
consciously decided to isolate us, all we can do is to
leave them alone and wish them well,” the minister
for East African Community Affairs, Mr Samwel Sitta,
Tanzania’s isolation puts in limbo its $4.7 billion
railway line project linking Dar, Kigali and Burundi,
whose construction is scheduled for 2014.
Rwanda and Uganda have given signals of their
intent to back Kenya’s railway corridor linking both
countries, including South Sudan to the Kenyan
Relations between Dar and Kigali have been icy
following the recent expulsion of Rwandan
immigrants from western Tanzania, and President
Jakaya Kiwete’s remarks that Rwanda should
negotiate with the Hutu rebel group FDLR it’s
fighting in eastern DRC.
The presidents of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda are in
Kigali to fast-tracking regional integration through
grand infrastructure projects.
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir is also present at
the infrastructure summit.
Juba had formally applied to join the EAC and the
status of its membership is likely to be part of the
agenda of the coalition’s meeting in Kigali.
The second infrastructure summit held two months
ago in Mombasa, Kenya resolved to bring Burundi
and South Sudan on board.
However, Burundi has reportedly denied membership
of the ‘coalition of the willing’ that has left Tanzania
out in cold, while coalition members pen multibillion
dollar regional infrastructure projects.
The second infrastructure summit also shared out
key responsibilities, with Uganda taking charge of
railway development and political federation, Kenya
leading on energy development and Rwanda on
customs issues, single tourists and East African
Community e-identity card.