President Museveni is expected during his address the East African Legislative Assembly- the Regional Parliament- sitting in Kampala this afternoon to renew his effort for a united East Africa.
His quest for East African economic integration and political federation is expected to form the highlight of his speech coming at time when the five nations in the bloc are facing serious economic challenges.
Legislators from the assembly are in Kampala to attend their third meeting of the Fifth Session of the Second East African Legislative Assembly that started today. Kenyan President Mail Kibaki who is the chairperson of the summit of the East African Community Heads of State will also address the same House on Wednesday.
At Parliament, plain-clothed security operatives as well as regular Special Forces Group personnel have surrounded the premises ahead of the President’s arrival. The President is expected to arrive at 2:30pm.
Museveni is not only pushing hard for East African federation, but he has also succeeded in putting political federation ahead of economic integration, which initially was the main concern of the federation.
Analysts have stressed that economic integration disproportionately favours Kenya, while a political federation would favour the Ugandan president who is alleged to be harbouring hopes to become the first federal president. President Museveni is East Africa’s longest-serving president.
Uganda has however been labeled the “an odd man out” because it is the only country in the federation without presidential term limits. When asked by Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo how Uganda would fit into the federation, President Museveni told the NRM Caucus last week that he would convince other members to scrap the term limits in their respective constitution. If they object, then term limits will be reinstated in Uganda’s Constitution, the president said.
Details of President Museveni’s address remains unclear. However, Shadow Finance Minister Geoffrey Ekanya told Daily Monitor that he believes the president will skirt local issues with a regional bearing, and instead focus on abstract regional issues.
“As usual, he is going to avoid mentioning areas that would cause him trouble such as the (disputed) 2011 presidential elections, the security situation in view of peaceful demonstrators and innocent people killed, wounded and detained during walk- to-work and other demonstrations,” Ekanya said. “I will not be surprised when he dodges things like inflation, interest rates and focus on long-term interventions like the need to increase power supply.”
He added: “For that matter, East African economic integration and the political federation project which he has singled out as a top priority for his administration will definitely form the highlight of this address. All in all, I don’t expect anything new- just usual rhetoric.”