Thursday, September 8, 2011

Reality Check on the EA Political Federation

...Speaking of our regional rag, the East African, I never expected to see an article like this appear. I am glad that at least the bureaucrats in Arusha, and the pundits, are not completely impervious to the will of the people. Maybe the nextgen of EA residents will have it together long enough to federate, but in truth a reading of post-colonial African history does show that we've got a ways to go before this makes any kind of sense.


  1. Hmmm, the linked article seems to be hinting more at a postponement rather than a total abandonment of the enterprise.

    I think a federation is possible, but only if they do the groundwork to prepare the people and build the institutions which would help it function beforehand.

    The results of that poll are very interesting although it does appear to be from 2004, I wonder if opinion has changed and whether there is a difference of opinion young vs old, urban vs rural, middle class vs working class etc

    I am very curious if the monetary union will go ahead and how it will succeed, at least all 3 currencies are already called "Shilingi" :-)

    Lastly, Aidan linked to a VERY interesting article by Mamdani which I think describes very clearly some of the challenges esp. on land issues which is a big concern to a lot of TZs:

  2. Hey Dr. Bob, good to hear from you. mh- i like the detail you are getting into. 2004 is so long oago, there must be visible changes in opinion. different president, for example.

    monetary union? ugh. nearly as undesirable as the political federation. Why are you so pro-EA?

  3. I consider myself "moderately pro-EA" but also keenly aware of the challenges especially in integrating countries which have very different political cultures and ways of doing business.

    The reason I am pro- is that I think there are also lots of similarities and that these similarities are deeper than the differences.

    Also it appeals to the Pan-Africanist in me - "Africa Unite! For the benefit of your children" (Bob Marley :-) )

    I also look at the example of the EU - it has been successful in bringing people together and giving Europeans a stronger common voice - the current crisis notwithstanding.

    I like the idea of future kids being able to freely work, live or go to school anywhere in the region.

    And when a 100 years from now your great-great-great-granddaughter Kokubanza Eyakuze is elected President of Africa by an overwhelming majority - that will be just great! :-)

  4. okay, i think i could cope with the idea of that kind of moderate pan-Africanism. I guess what you are talking about is creating governance structures that allow people to freely choose where they live/who they want to be. i.e. a sort of return to pre-colonial, pre-nationalist notions of individual freedoms. now that tickles the liberal in me.

    However this same liberal is balking at a number of things: first there is a-historicity. Yeah we have a lot in common, which is no reason to assume we'll actually get along perfectly well. We might not- that's a very real threat. The other thing is that to me this is just another manifestation of centralization gone berserk. I am interested in local-level, organic, communitarian approaches to politics. The national level is already problematic, can we handle supra-national organization? Or is it just another attempt by the despotically-inclined to assert their power over larger numbers of people? If you look at the heads of state in the recent past who have been keenly interested in the EA or the AU (Ghaddafi, Museveni) the signs are not good...

    If I have anything to do with it, Kokubanza Eyakuze will be too busy publishing an independent local newspaper, heading the East African Gender Studies Institute and running the organic agribusiness commune she has inherited to run for President of Africa ;)

  5. LOL, well said, Koku sounds like a lovely young lady, I hope I get to meet her ;-)


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