South Sudan to Chair EAC for First Time
12:10 14.11.2023 (Updated: 08:36 15.11.2023)
© AP Photo / Brian IngangaSouth Sudan's President Salva Kiir attends the swearing-in ceremony for Kenya's new president William Ruto, at Kasarani stadium in Nairobi, Kenya on Sept. 13, 2022
© AP Photo / Brian Inganga
The East African Community (EAC) was established in 1999 by the leaders of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. In 2007, Burundi and Rwanda became members of the regional organization, and in 2016, South Sudan was added. In 2022, the Democratic Republic of Congo joined the bloc as a new member.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit will assume the chairmanship of the East African Community at the next summit of heads of state on November 24, local media reported.
Until this year, South Sudan, which became a member of the organization in 2016, had never presided over the EAC: the chairmanship had been held twice by the leaders of Uganda and Kenya, and once by Tanzania, Burundi, and Rwanda. President Kiir will replace Burundi's President Evariste Ndayishimiye, whose one-year term expired in mid-year.
South Sudan's president will assume office amid mounting pressure over his country's failure to pay its membership dues. According to local media, Juba is a major non-payer, owing the bloc some $30 million.
Lawmakers in the East African Legislative Assembly last week passed a motion calling on the Council of Ministers to suspend the membership of member states that failed to meet their financial obligations. The initiators said the Council of Ministers should put in place mechanisms to enforce the terms of Articles 143 and 146 of the EAC Treaty.
According to Article 146 of the EAC Treaty, it is clear that a member state may be suspended from participating in the activities of the bloc if it neglects its financial commitments for a period of 18 months or more.
Article 143, in turn, states that a partner state that fails to meet its financial obligations under the EAC Treaty "shall be subject to such sanction as the summit may on the recommendation of the Council determine."
In mid-October, Kenya's Regional Integration Committee submitted a report to parliament proposing a revision of the East African Community Treaty. The proposed amendment seeks to give veto power to those partner states that contribute most to the implementation of the treaty.
The EAC agenda under Kiir's leadership is expected to include a further regional response to the security crisis in DR Congo, as well as the admission of new members to the bloc.
Last week, the organization's secretary-general, Peter Mathuki, told a panel at the Africa Investment Forum that the EAC could admit Somalia to the bloc this month.