The sovereignty of the members “ will be maintained in the confederation of East Africa ”
Arusha. National sovereignty would largely be retained within the framework of the envisaged East African Political Confederation.
This is according to Judge Benjamin Odoki, president of a committee of experts responsible for drafting a model constitution for the envisaged political union.
He said the political confederation would ideally be vertical in that it would deal directly with partner states rather than with EA citizens.
The constituent states of the Confederation would be free to join and / or withdraw from the arrangement as they wish, being sovereign states.
“The confederal authority will however have the right to suspend or expel a member state which violates the confederal constitution”, he declared.
Judge Odoki revealed this in Uganda last week during national consultations on drafting the political confederation of the East African Community (EAC).
He clarified that unlike the political federation, the political confederation would be highly dependent on the goodwill of the constituent states.
“The political confederation is a model of transition towards the political federation which is the fourth and final stage of the integration process of the EAC”, he underlined.
He was speaking to participants in the town of Mbarara, in western Uganda, during consultations on the drafting of the confederation project.
The retired Ugandan judge urged participants to tell the Committee of Experts how much sovereignty national governments would prefer.
“In the confederal system, the decision-making process is based on consensus or unanimity. Member States do not lose their sovereignty, ”said Judge Odoki.
He added: “The supreme power of states to manage their affairs would remain. There would be no creation of a new state or a centralized authority ”.
The team was appointed by the 2018 EAC Heads of State Summit to consult and propose a model constitution for the EAC Confederation.
One of the terms of reference of the team was to study political confederations around the world and choose relevant clauses suited to the EE model.
The EAC, which was relaunched in the 1990s, is made up of six partner states: Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan.
Speaking at the team’s session in Entebbe, Ugandan EAC Affairs Minister John Maganda Wandera expressed hope that the process would be successful.