By LUKE ANAMI
Regional presidents have given consent for the conclusion of negotiations that will see the Democratic Republic of Congo join the East African Community (EAC).
At Wednesday’s 18th Extraordinary EAC Heads of State summit, held virtually and chaired by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, the leaders received and considered the report by the Council of Ministers on a verification mission to Kinshasa.
“The summit directed the Council to expeditiously commence and conclude negotiations with the DRC for admission to the East African Community and report to the next summit,” read a communique released after the meeting.
The heads of State also directed the EAC Secretariat to table a report on proposals to amend sections of the EAC Treaty that deal with the quorum at meetings.
“The summit considered the proposal to amend rule 11 of the rules of procedure for the summit of the heads of state or government and directed the Secretariat to convene an extraordinary meeting of the sectoral council on legal and judicial affairs to deliberate and advise on this proposal for consideration by the next summit which shall consider and conclude on this matter.”
The regional leaders observed a minute silence at the start of the meeting in honour of the late Tanzania president John Magufuli who died in March 2021.
They welcomed President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who took over from Magufuli, where she made her maiden speech.
In addition to Presidents Kenyatta and Samia, the summit was also attended by Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame of Rwanda.
Burundi President Evariste Ndayishimiye and his South Sudan counterpart Salva Kiir were represented by Vice President Prosper Bazombanza and EAC Affairs minister Deng Alor Kuol, respectively.