EACJ holds 1st Sitting in Dar es Salaam to Hear Case Challenging EAC Summit Directives.

Arusha, 18 April: The East African Court of Justice First Instance Division yesterday held its hearing session in Dar es Salaam at the Commercial Court of Tanzania. The case pits Timothy Alvin Kahoho a Tanzanian citizen against the EAC Secretary General.

Mr. Kahoho is challenging a number the directives by the 13th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State held in Burundi in November 2011, which were given to the EAC Secretariat to propose an action plan on a draft model of the structure of the East African Political Federation;conclusion of the protocol on immunities and privileges for the East African Community Organs and Institutions;producing a roadmap for establishment and strengthening of institutions identified by a team of experts as critical for the functioning of the Customs Union, Common Market and Monetary Union and formulation of an action plan for the purpose of operationalizing the other recommendations in a report of a team of experts.

Kahoho submitted that the 13th Summit was wrong to mandate the Secretariat to carry out the duties as per the above directives contravening Article 11(5) of the Treaty for Establishment of the East African Community. The Article provides that “Subject to this Treaty, the Summit may delegate the exercise of any of its functions, subject to any conditions which it may think fit to impose to a member of the Summit, to the Council or to the Secretary General, Kahoho contended that the process of political federation had not been initiated by the Summit and that the process should ensure that the East African citizens are involved and not to be left to the EAC Organs alone to determine their destiny.

The Applicant also said that the action by the Summit of directing the Secretariat on issues related to immunities and privileges was wrong as it does not fall under areas of cooperation where a protocol can be established but falls under Article 73 which is out of areas for cooperation as provided in the Treaty for the establishment of the EAC.

He therefore sought for orders to restrain the East African Community Secretariat from carrying out activities geared towards the realization of the East African Political Federation. That the directives of the 13th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State held in Burundi in November 2011, for being an infringement of Article 11 (5) and 73 of the EAC Treaty and he asked the Court to find the Summit contravened the Treaty.

Dr. Anthony Kafumbe representing the Secretary General of the EAC submitted that, the process of Political Federation was started by the Council. He argued that the team of experts report was at the instance of the Council and not the Secretariat. He added that when the Summit initiates the process, it can’t do anything else, but delegate to the Council and the Secretariat to follow up the process and report back.

Dr. Kafumbe argued that there was no contravention of the Treaty and that the contention of excluding the Council of Ministers in the Political Federation process is not true and the process is ongoing.He also told Court that the draft protocol on immunities and privileges concerns the conditions of EAC Staff which addresses the inconsistencies in the Partner States EAC headquarters agreements. He therefore asked the Court to dismiss the case.

The Court will deliver the Judgment on notice.

For more information please contact:

Prof. John Ruhangisa, Registrar
Email: ruhangisa@eachq.org

Ms. Geraldine Umugwaneza, Deputy Registrar
Email: umugwaneza@eachq.org

Owora Richard Othieno, Head of Department;
Corporate Communications and Public Affairs;
EAC Secretariat
Tel: +255 784 835021; Email: othieno@eachq.org

East African Court of Justice
Arusha, Tanzania
http://www.eacj.org

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