Kampala is set to host the first East African Community dialogue to determine the structure for a political federation as EAC Heads of State prepare for a summit later this month.

Delegates drawn from all the five EAC partner states will converge in Kampala on Thursday to discuss, among other issues, whether EAC should be led by a president or a model like the European. The forum will also discuss the role of political parties in EAC integration.

EAC Deputy Secretary General (Political Federation) Beatrice Kiraso said the major objective of the dialogue is to promote participation by East Africans and to enhance political will in political integration.

"This is an outreach that seeks to popularise and inform East Africans about the status of political integration, the progress and challenges thereof and to involve many stakeholders on charting the way ahead," said Ms Kiraso.

Papers of discussion

The meeting will also discuss the formation of a constitution that will guide EAC partner states towards realisation of a political federation.

"The dialogue will be a regular activity in all partner States and topics will be based on studies on various topics on political integration," Kiraso explained.

EAC papers released in July in Arusha, Tanzania, will form the basis for discussion. They are ‘Participation of Political Parties in East Africa Integration Process’, ‘Representation in East African Integration Process’ and ‘A Comparative Study on the Structures and Functioning of Federations’. Four more studies were recently commissioned.

The dialogue’s theme is ‘Enhancing Representation/Inclusiveness in Promoting EAC Integration’ and key topics include the impact of national politics on the integration process to be presented by the immediate former Secretary General of EAC Juma Mwapachu.

There will also be a round-table discussion with a number of development partners interested in collaborating with the EAC in promoting political integration and good governance.

"At the coming summit on November 30 the Heads of State are expected to give guidance on the roadmap towards political federation," added Kiraso.

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