Kiir takes over reins at EAC with focus on regional peace

Kiir takes over reins at EAC with focus on regional peace

President Salva Kiir Mayardit formally assumed the leadership of the East African Community in an ordinary Heads of State Summit in Arusha, Tanzania, with a message calling for unity and peacebuilding in the East African region.  

Addressing the Summit, President Kiir said that South Sudan strongly believed in the ability of the East African Community to address its challenges, citing it as the main reason for joining the East African Community in 2016.

“Guided by our vision for a prosperous, competitive, secure, stable and politically united East Africa, I will focus on enhancing integration within the region during my tenure and shall continue to focus on regional peace initiatives, strengthen security measures, advance political processes and establish emergency response mechanisms,” Kiir stated.

He underscored the commitment by South Sudan to the regional bloc, saying that Juba will honour its financial obligations fully.

“As a partner state, South Sudan is fully aware of his treaty of dedication particularly on the harmonization of law and policy. We are equally aware of our required financial obligation for the functioning of the community,” Kiir said, adding that South Sudan has developed a road map for integration into the East African Community.  

He added South Sudan has been affected by the challenges of peace implementation which has taken away her attention.  

“The agreement we are implementing is not supported externally by the partners and this explains why South Sudan was left behind during its annual contribution to the East African Community,” Kiir revealed.  

He applauded the East African Community Heads of the State for waving the arrears accumulated to South Sudan during the 22nd ordinary Summit.

“In recognition of this gesture, the government immediately disbursed the remaining balance of $15 million. From now onward, South Sudan is committed to remit its annually required contribution on a timely basis,” Kiir declared.

Regional peace

On regional peace and security, Kiir told the Summit that peace and security in the region need a collective responsibility to solve the Congolese crisis between the government of DRC and the opposition groups. 

He emphasised that the East African community should remain committed to the Nairobi process for peace in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

“I call upon the summit to find the appropriate mechanism to support this ongoing political process,” he appealed.

In his remarks, Kenyan President William Ruto, described the East African Community today as “the most integrated and progressive economic community in the continent.”

“It speaks volumes, as to resolve as East African community to build a common market, to build on our strengthens, to focus on a common destiny as people of this region,” William Ruto echoed.

He fully supported President Kiir in propelling the regional bloc to achieve regional destiny and integrality.

The outgoing chair of the East African Community, Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi, thanked the heads of the East African community for trusting him to serve the East African community.

He said that it was the responsibility of leaders to ensure that the objectives remain in the course of the community.

“When I took over the leadership, I undertook to direct efforts towards improving the equal life of East African community through competitive value-added production trade and investment,” he said.

 The leaders of the East African Community held the 23rd ordinary meeting in Arusha under the theme “Accelerating Economic Recovery through Climate Action and Enhancing Food Security for Improved livelihoods.”                                                                                                                                        The top agenda item was a report on the negotiations for the admission of the Federal Republic of Somalia into the EAC and the progress report of the EAC-led Nairobi process on the restoration of peace and stability in the Eastern DRC.

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of eight partner states, comprising Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Somalia, which joined yesterday.