Burundi and South Sudan join new EAC partnership

Three regional presidents Wednesday sanctioned ambitious plans to fast-track East African political federation and complete key infrastructure projects.

Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame also approved the inclusion of Burundi and South Sudan in the new multi-lateral partnership.

Ministers from the three countries will meet in Kampala next month and agree on a roadmap by September 15, and prepare a zero draft of the federal constitution by October 15, the leaders said in a joint communique.

The statement was issued after the three leaders held a closed-door meeting. President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi and his South Sudan counterpart Salva Kiir were represented by their ministers for Foreign Affairs, and Works and Transport, respectively.

Tanzania’s Jakaya Kikwete did not attend the summit. When contacted, his spokesman Salva Rweyemama told the Nation that the Tanzanian leader was not invited to the Mombasa meeting.

“You now need to find out from the organisers why Tanzania was left out. We were also not invited to a similar meeting in Uganda attended by the same leaders.” Efforts to get a comment from the Presidential Strategic Communication Unit were unsuccessful.

The three Presidents also said construction of the Mombasa-Nairobi segment of the new standard-gauge railway line would start by November. The entire project— to Kampala and Kigali— will be completed by March 2018.



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