Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has
offered to help resolve the controversy
threatening to break up the East African
Community (EAC).
Mr Odinga appealed to Presidents Uhuru
Kenyatta, Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Jakaya
Kikwete (Tanzania) and Paul Kagame
(Rwanda) to urgently pick a Panel of
Statesmen from the EAC to resolve the
controversy that has seen Tanzania threaten
to pull out of the political and economic bloc.
(Read: Tanzania seeks new partners outside
“I want to propose to regional heads of State
that a panel of statesmen from the EAC be put
together to work out a mechanism to resolve
the impasse and put the union back on track,”
he told a press conference.
Asked whether he was ready to sit on the
panel if picked by President Kenyatta, Mr
Odinga answered in the affirmative.
“Yes, I’m ready to represent Kenya on that
panel,” he responded.
Mr Odinga has previously resisted overtures
from the Jubilee government to appoint him
Kenya’s envoy at large, with his supporters
terming it a ploy to push him into political
Mr Odinga’s concerns come in the wake of
reports from Dar es Salaam that Tanzania was
considering pulling out of the EAC.
Tanzania’s minister for EAC Affairs, Samuel
Sitta is reported to have told a charged
Parliament in Dodoma that Dar will not wait for
a “divorce certificate” from Kenya, Rwanda
and Uganda, but will “shoot before we are
The minister spoke on the same day
Presidents Kenyatta, Kagame, Museveni and
Salva Kiir of South Sudan signed a host of
protocols and agreements in Kigali, including
free movement of goods and persons,
infrastructural development and
transformation into a single Customs Union.
The pacts were signed on the sidelines of the
three-day “Transform Africa Summit” to which
Tanzania and Burundi, both EAC member
states were not invited.
Mr Sitta confirmed that not a single Tanzanian
minister attended the Kigali event. The only
senior government official at the function was
the permanent secretary in the ministry of
EAC Affairs.
Claiming the trio of Messrs Kenyatta, Kagame
and Museveni were engaged in some “dirty
game”, Mr Sitta assured the MPs that Tanzania
will not be bound by any decisions arrived at
by the leaders of Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda
pertaining to the regional bloc.
Mr Odinga warned that Kenya would be the
biggest loser if Tanzania pulled out of the
regional bloc because it will be unable to
access markets in the DRC and Malawi.
“Kenya and the rest of EAC stand to suffer
immensely economically if Tanzania were to
team up with DRC and Burundi in another
union. The Tanzania-DRC-Burundi coalition
would effectively block EAC, Kenya included,
from accessing the markets of Central and
Southern Africa,” he noted.
“We must make no mistake about the
potential might of DRC, Tanzania and Burundi
put together. DRC remains a virgin land of
vast potential. But it is famed to have natural
resources, including potential for electric
power sufficient for the entire continent of
Africa,” he explained.
To Mr Odinga, the ideal situation would be a
coalition comprising Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda,
Burundi, Uganda and South Sudan which
would jointly entice DRC to come on board.
(Read: EAC will not disintegrate, says Uhuru)

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