South Sudan, which was accepted to become the sixth member of the East African Community (EAC), last April, will today submit ‘instruments for ratification,’ at the EAC Headquarters.
According to an official in the Public Relations Office at the EAC Secretariat, Mr Florian Mutabazi, the community’s Secretary General, Ambassador Liberat Mfumukeko, is scheduled to preside over the occasion of ‘Depositing of Instrument of Ratification on the accession to the treaty for the establishment of the EAC by the Republic of South Sudan.’
Essentially this means that the South Sudan president’s envoy would submit official documents that the government of the world’s newest country had signed to indicate Juba’s readiness to comply to the East African Community’s laws, regulations and ultimatums.
Last April, President John Magufuli, in his capacity as the Chairperson of the East African Community’s Heads of State Summit led the delegation from South Sudan in signing the initial protocol allowing Juba to join the regional bloc.
A month earlier, during their 17th Ordinary Summit held on 2nd March, 2016 here in Arusha, the EAC Heads of State received the report of the Council of Ministers on the negotiations for the admission of the Republic of South Sudan into the Community and decided to admit the Republic of South Sudan as a new member.
The Summit then designated the Chairperson, President John Magufuli, to sign the Treaty of Accession with the Republic of South Sudan, which becomes the sixth member of the regional bloc, which was revived in 1999 after the collapse of the original community in 1977. Other EAC members include the founding three — Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania — as well as Rwanda and Burundi that joined later in 2007.
The admission of South Sudan to the Arusha Pivoted East African Community now paves way for its neighbour, further north at Khartoum to also be considered to become the seventh member of the community which was revived back in 1999. It was actually the Republic of Sudan, headquartered at Khartoum, which was first to apply to be allowed to join the EAC.
However, its request was placed on hold because for a country to be a member of the EAC, it must share a common border with any of the initial five partner states.
South Sudan, which borders the two EAC member states, Kenya and Uganda in the South, apparently stood in-between Khartoum, but now having become member, it is possible for the Republic of Sudan to reapply and be considered to join the Community.
South Sudan now brings into the EAC an additional 620,000 square kilometres of real estate, boosting the region’s population, to date chalking a total of 12.3 million more people.