EAC Chairman and South Sudan President Salva Kiir will assign special envoys to the various capitals in the region to deliver his message, and where necessary engage the leaders to resolve the growing disputes within the framework of the community.
This was communicated on Monday, January 15, when East African Community Secretary General Dr Peter Mathuki met President Kiir at State House, Juba, South Sudan.
EAC in a statement said Kiir expressed his concern over interstate political and security dynamics in the region, which he said require urgent intervention. He noted that to attain the set targets in the calendar year, the period he will hold the chairship, there is need to “foster a predictable and stable security environment that can catalyse the regional integration agenda”.
The deployment of the envoys is among the interventions Kiir said will be activated towards addressing inter-state relations.
“President Salva Kiir reiterated the need for not only East Africans, but all Africans to embrace the spirit of brotherhood and where omnipresent conflict arise by utilizing the regional, continental and global peaceful conflict resolution mechanisms available,” the statement said.
In the event of any dispute arising between two or more partner states, it is expected that we use the existing EAC Dispute Resolution Mechanism that fully respect the integrity and sovereignty of our partner statesEAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki
His proposals came days after Mathuki on January 12 urged partner states to deploy peaceful settlement of any disputes and restrain, strictly observing the spirit of the EAC treaty on peaceful co-existence and good neighborliness.
“The Community’s operational principles provide that, our integration is people-centred and that all our undertakings should strictly observe this spirit. In the event of any dispute arising between two or more partner states, it is expected that we use the existing EAC Dispute Resolution Mechanism that fully respect the integrity and sovereignty of our partner states,” Mathuki said in a statement.
He added that the Secretariat is closely working with the Chairman’s office to provide the necessary facilitation towards peaceful resolution of any arising disputes amongst members.
There has been an increase in disputes in the EAC, the recent being between Kenya and Tanzania over air travel.
On January 15, the same day Kiir urged for restraint, Tanzania blocked Kenya Airways passenger flights from operating the Nairobi-Dar es Salaam route as retaliation to Nairobi refusing all cargo flights operations by Air Tanzania Company Limited.
Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority Director General Hamza Johari, Dar es Salaam said there shall be no passenger flights by Kenya airways from Nairobi from January 22, 2024.
It said the move was to reciprocate the decision by Kenya to refuse the Tanzanian request for all-cargo flight operations by Air Tanzania Company Limited under Fifth Freedom Traffic Rights between Nairobi and Third countries, contrary to Section 4 of the MoU on Air Services, between Tanzania and Kenya signed on November 24, 2016.
The two, countries, however, said they would resolve the matter in three days through the respective Foreign Affairs Ministers.
On Thursday last week, Burundi Internal Affairs minister announced Gitega was suspending diplomatic ties with Kigali, closing its border and deporting Rwandan citizens in response to Rwanda’s alleged support for RED Rabara rebel group.
Rwanda is already having cold relations with DR Congo over claims of backing M23 rebel groups, who have been causing mayhem in eastern region.
DRC has also severed ties with Kenya and Tanzania, recalling its ambassadors from Nairobi and Dar es Salaam following the launch of a new Congolese military-political alliance in Nairobi.
President Salva Kiir has, however, reiterated his commitment to strengthen the EAC during his tenure as the chairperson.