- Mr Kenyatta outlined his vision for the region, saying he will focus on strengthening partnerships to enhance intra-EAC connectivity and ensure sustainable implementation of projects.
- President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday pledged to ensure a more united and prosperous East African Community (EAC) as he took over chairmanship of the regional bloc.
- The President assured that he will spare no effort in the realisation of the shared aspirations that revived the community 20 years ago.
- “Thank you for showing confidence, faith and trust in me. I promise to do all I can to take our region to greater heights,” he said after taking over from Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.
- He addressed the 21st Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The President paid a glowing tribute to the late former Presidents Daniel arap Moi (Kenya) and Benjamin Mkapa (Tanzania), acknowledging the role they played with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in the EAC’s rebirth two decades ago.
· New chair’s vision
- Mr Kenyatta outlined his vision for the region, saying he will focus on strengthening partnerships to enhance intra-EAC connectivity and ensure sustainable implementation of projects and programmes in productive sectors.
- “It is desirable that the objectives of the Customs Union, Common Market and Monetary Union, and easier cross-border movement of goods, people and services, is realised,” he said.
- He emphasised the need for partner States to harmonise their commitment on the free movement of people, workers and services as envisaged in the region’s common market protocol.
- In this regard, President Kenyatta announced Kenya’s decision to remove the visa requirement for South Sudanese nationals visiting the country as an act of reciprocity.
- During the summit, Dr Peter Mutuku Mathuki of Kenya was sworn-in as the new EAC Secretary-General for a five-year non-renewable term beginning April 25.
· Judges appointed
- Dr Mathuki took over from Amb Libérat Mfumukeko of Burundi, whose term is ending.
- The summit, chaired by President Kenyatta, also witnessed the appointment of six new judges of the East African Court of Justice, including Kenya’s Justice Kathurima M’inoti, who joins the appellate division of the EA Court of Justice.
- Speaking as he handed over to President Kenyatta, President Kagame congratulated him on his assumption of the chairmanship of the EAC and welcomed Dr Mathuki as the new EAC secretary-general.
- Other speakers included Presidents Museveni and Evariste Ndayishimiye (Burundi).
- The speech by host President John Magufuli (Tanzania) was read by Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan.