POLITICAL INTEGRATION: POLITICIANS, ACADEMECIANS, CIVIL SOCIETY DEBATE WAY FORWARD
ARUSHA, Tanzania, April 19, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The second East African Community Dialogue on Political Integration started in Dar es Salaam 18 April 2012 under the theme: ''The relationship between Political and Economic Integration''.
The first Dialogue held in November last year in Kampala was on the theme: ”Enhancing Representation/Inclusiveness in Promoting EAC Integration.”
Opening the Dialogue, Tanzania's Minister for EAC Affairs Hon. Samuel Sitta underscored the need to properly address the economic and political benefits of the regional integration process.
Hon. Sitta emphasized the need to strike a proper balance between economic and political integration, saying that the two processes are complementary.
“Unfortunately, the current discourse appears to be skewed towards the thinking of Western industrialized nations which preach democracy sometimes at the expense of economic growth and development,” he told the 50-plus participants that included politicians, researchers, academicians, activists and regional experts, among others.
He lauded the Political Dialogue as an important event in East Africa for sharing perspectives, comparing challenges, exploring opportunities and exchanging information.
“Dialoguing is the best way to unlock misunderstanding,” Hon. Minister said in his speech which was read by his Deputy Permanent Secretary Musa Uledi.
The EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Political Federation Hon. Beatrice Kiraso said that all good solutions to problems, misunderstandings and divergent positions came out of discussion and debate.
Noting the global economic and politico-security environment, the EAC official urged delegates to consider ways on how to safeguard the region's growth for mutual benefit.
“Today we are beginning to see a rise in political intolerance as a result of high inflation, rise in prices of food fuel…it provokes us to think harder and come up with appropriate reforms to enhance efficiency of our economies,” she underlined.
The papers which will be presented include “Demystifying Political Integration” by Professor Giilbert Khadiagala from the Witwatersrand University, South Africa and “Political Integration and the driving force for efficient economic integration” by Professor Sam Tulya-Muhika of Wide Consultancy Firm.
The Political Dialogues generate debate and facilitate brainstorming on topical political issues that are relevant to the integration process so as to arrive at consensus on some issues and agree to how the common understanding can be further disseminated and popularized.
The Dialogue is co-sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP