Regime types influencing integration within the framework of the East Africa Community
Regional integration has been tried world wide starting with European Union, ASEAN, Arab league, NAFTA, LAFTA, ECOWAS, SADC and now East Africa Community with some having more success than others. East Africa Community (EAC) as it was before its collapse in 1977 comprised Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. EAC Treaty signed in 1999 reintroduced integration efforts in the region and eventually opened up for Rwanda and Burundi to join the EAC as member states. Four pillars informing EAC’s integration include; a Customs Union, a Common Market, a Monetary Union and a Political Federation. This thesis sought to examine the influence of member states regimes on East Africa integration in the context of the revived East Africa Community. The nature of such influence spreads from political, to socio cultural and economic variables. Variables being ‘regime types’; ‘ethnicity’; and lastly ‘economic investment’ within the East Africa Community. The conceptual framework for this study is anchored in the Neo-functionalist theory that explains regionalism and regional integration.Other frameworks are, Federalism, and the Realist approach. The study employed a mixed methods research design that gave latitude to extensive usage of questionnaires that was both structured and unstructured, as an instrument of probity given its flexibility. Data collection was purposive at the East Africa Community Secretariat in Arusha, while random sampling was used at border point areas. Data collection instruments were questionnaires. Qualitative data was analyzed thematically and verbatims presented as narratives. Descriptive statistics are presented in form of percentages and frequencies in all objectives. The findings indicate that indeed regime types among East African Countries influence regional integration negatively to a great extent. On the other hand, ethnicity was found to have a negative impact on East Africa’s Integration even though the political class had not exploited ethnic jingoism to defeat integration as yet. Lastly, a large majority of respondents opined that different levels of economic development posed a severe challenge to integration efforts. Some recommendations advanced are as follows: Hybrid Regimes make EACs integration vulnerable to the whims of the leaders. Thus, the regimes must fully embrace democracy. There is need to harmonize member states constitutions and actualize human rights fully. East Africa Stand by Force should be full operationalized. The newly formed anti corruption association in East Africa should be fully supported and operationalized in member countries. The Principle of separation of powers between the Judiciary, Legislature and the Executive should be fully adhered to by member states. Electoral processes should meet the thresholds of one man one vote and all votes counted, must count in final outcomes to reflect people’s wishes. Member states should support multiparty democracy unequivocally, for people centered outcomes. Civic education must be carried out among member states citizenry for them to know what ideal democracy is all about, i.e respect for civil liberties, one man one vote and general respect for human rights in totality. Further, there is an urgent need for Political transitional predictability in Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. However, there is also the need to cherish the importance of diversity on one hand and to sensitize people against its misuse, without necessarily criminalizing ethnic reference. There is an urgent need to address the gap between majority poor and fewer rich through social capitalism ideology since the “welfare state” has failed and has become a ‘fare thee well, state’.
- Research Papers