EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY LAUNCHED – AFRICAN UNION TREATY RATIFIED

At a ceremony in Arusha attended by thousands of people on 16th January Presidents Mkapa, Daniel arap Moi of Kenya and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda formally inaugurated the East African Community (EAC) comprising 74 million people. President Mkapa said that he was optimistic that the EAC would bring together labour and natural resources and expand regional markets for a strong economy. He called on the new community to learn from other regional groupings such as SADC, ECOWAS and the European Union to see how best the community could be nursed. The Economist Michela Wrong was quoted in the Guardian as saying that if East African cooperation were to succeed no one would be able to claim more credit than President Mkapa who, immediately after the 1995 elections, had set out on a whirlwind tour of East Africa and managed to bring together the Presidents of Uganda and Kenya who had many differences at the time.

Tanzania ratified on April 3 the Consultative Act of the African Union becoming the 34th OAU member state to do so. 36 members are required for the treaty to come into force. Among other things the Union will have a continental parliament and a court and has the power to intervene militarily where there is a fundamental breach of human rights.

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