houston news, houston local news, breaking news in houston, houston weather at newscast media





















Part I-Somalia's impediments to joining East African Community




 by Joseph Earnest  May 12, 2012

Newscast Media NAIROBI, KenyaOver a month ago, Somalia applied to join the East African Community (EAC) in a letter that was sent to Mwai Kibaki, Kenya's president and the current head chairman of the EAC. Some might wonder why Somalia would apply to become part of the EAC since it is located in what is perceived by many as East Africa.  To a foreign eye, that may appear true, but to a native African, the countries that make up East Africa are: Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.  Somalia is considered to be part of the Horn of Africa, and some go as far as classifying it as being part of North Africa.

To give the readers a little history of the EAC, it was conceived in 1967, by the aspirations of Kenya's Jomo Kenyatta, Uganda's Milton Obote and Tanzania's Julius Nyerere. This led to the formation of the East African Community that allowed inter-state commerce to happen between the three countries. Vehicles and trains from the region were marked with the abbreviation EAC to facilitate the free flow of goods across East Africa, and distinguish them from other African countries.

Within 10 years, the EAC had dissolved, but was revived in 1999-2000 by Kenya's Daniel Arap Moi, Uganda's Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and Tanzania's Ali Hassan Mwinyi, to the current EAC.  In July 2009 Rwanda and Burundi that were initially considered part of Central Africa, applied and were admitted as part of the East African Community. Today the EAC is made up of the five countries (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda) in the Great Lakes region.

Sudan applied to EAC but its membership was rejected for two reasons: The first reason was that it had no geographic borders attached to any of the East African countries. Secondly, Sudan practices Sharia law and no country in East Africa engages in that practice.  South Sudan, has been encouraged to join the EAC, which will lessen its dependence on Sudan as it builds ties with East Africa.  However, because political instability continues to plague the region, its application is being threatened as reported by Tanzania's Citizen News. (pop-up)

Somalia comes into play by virtue of having its borders attached to Kenya, but faces several impediments, six (6) of which I will list below numerically:

Impediment #1: Somalia is considered a terror state and harbors the terrorist group Al-Shabaab as indicated in this report by the U.S. State Department.

This is in direct contravention of Article III of the EAC Treaty which clearly spells out the criteria used in expanding the membership of the Community.

Membership of the CommunityArticle III section 3(b):

(b) Adherence to universally acceptable principles of good governance, democracy, the rule of law, observance of human rights and social justice.

Because it harbors a terror group, it will be hard for Somalia to bypass this requirement of the East African Treaty.

Impediment #2:  Al-Shabaab recently joined forces with Al-Qaeda, which does not strengthen its standing in the EAC community.  An enraged Hillary Clinton wanted no part of discussions with the group, and ruled out talks with Al-Shabaab, saying that its decision to join forces with al-Qaeda showed "it is not on the side of peace, stability or the Somali people" as reported by the BBC in this article.  (pop-up)

Impediment #3: Somalia observes Sharia Law, and just as Sudan was denied membership because no country in East Africa observes Sharia, there is a high likelihood the same standard will be applied to Somalia. Among many things, the strict interpretation of Sharia law also forbids girls from attending school, requires veils for women, beards for men, and bans music and television CNN reports here (pop-up)

On the issue of  Sharia, this law is decided by a Sharia court, yet to become a member of the EAC, it would mean that the East African Court of Justice would have jurisdiction over matters related to human rights and so forth. The decision of the East African Court also supersedes the decisions of other national courts in matters related to the Treaty. This is demonstrated in Article 23, Article 27, Article 33 and Article 35 of the East African Treaty as shown below:

ARTICLE 23: East African Court of JusticeRole of the Court

The Court shall be a judicial body which shall ensure the adherence to law in the interpretation and application of and compliance with this Treaty.


ARTICLE 27Jurisdiction of the Court

1. The Court shall initially have jurisdiction over the interpretation and application of this Treaty.

2. The Court shall have such other original, appellate, human rights and other jurisdiction as will be determined by the Council at a suitable subsequent date. To this end, the Partner States shall conclude a protocol to operationalise the extended jurisdiction.


ARTICLE 33 Jurisdiction of National Courts

1. Except where jurisdiction is conferred on the Court by this Treaty, disputes to which the Community is a party shall not on that ground alone, be excluded from the jurisdiction of the national courts of the Partner States.

2. Decisions of the Court on the interpretation and application of this Treaty shall have precedence over decisions of national courts on a similar matter.


ARTICLE 35Judgment of the Court

1. The Court shall consider and determine every reference made to it pursuant to this Treaty in accordance with rules of the Court and shall deliver in public session, a reasoned judgment which, subject to rules of the Court as to review, shall be final, binding and conclusive and not open to appeal.  Click here to read or download entire East African Treaty (pop-up)


Impediment #4: Piracy on the seas, is not only a regional issue that Somalia has failed to contain, it has become an international problem, once again in contravention to Article III of the EAC Treaty, particularly subsections (b) and (f).

Article III sections 3(b) and 3(f) state:

(b) Adherence to universally acceptable principles of good governance, democracy, the rule of law, observance of human rights and social justice;

(f)Social and economic policies being compatible with those of the Community.


The activity of Somalian pirates not only violates human rights because they have killed many hostages, but piracy also hinders commerce and economic policies, because merchant vessels containing goods and merchandise that are hijacked by pirates, are a source of income upon which various countries rely to grow their economies. CBS News reported the story of four Americans who were killed by Somalian pirates with a message from Muse Abdi who said: "Killing hostages has now become part of our rules. From now on, anyone who tries to rescue the hostages in our hands will only collect dead bodies." Continue to Part II-Somalia's impediments>


                                                           Add Comments>>

 Related story:

Part II-Somalia's impediments to joining the East African Community






       Find newscast media on youtube for houston news and local breaking news        get newscast media news feeds for breaking news, houston local news and world news.          Get our facebook updates on world news, houston news and houston local news including sports         Twitter

 Join the Newscast Media social networks

for current events and multimedia content. 





 Copyright© Newscast Media. All Rights Reserved. Terms and Privacy Policy