Chief Justice David Maraga has urged East Africa member states to fastrack the process for the integration of the East African Community.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of the annual East African Judges and Magistrates Association (EAMJA) Conference in Mombasa, Maraga said there is an urgent need to have a truly integrated East African community because of the dynamics of a fast moving world where people and goods are more frequently moving across national borders than ever before.
He said responsive States’ organs and institutions need to harness and use these developments for the benefit of their peoples.
“Indeed, there is need for economic, political, and social institutions to facilitate the integration of people and ensure that the kind of movement, integration and interaction that we are witnessing is translated into growth and prosperity,” the Chief Justice said.
He said the foundation for integration was laid in the year 2000 when the leaders of the East African region saw the need and opportunity of once more bringing the peoples of East Africa together adding that this led to the adoption of the Treaty establishing the East African Community.
The Justice Maraga said the Treaty provides the much needed common framework and basis upon which regional integration can be deepened.
“The main objective of the Treaty, as captured in Article 5 thereof, is to develop policies and programmes that can promote cooperation and integration in political, economic, social, and cultural fields among the partner states.
This call for cooperation extends to cooperation in judicial affairs,” said Maraga.
The Chief Justice lauded the theme of the Conference, “Judicial role in deepening regional integration and the post-2015 development agenda: A dialogue on challenges and opportunities” as an important and timely topic for discussion.
He also urged EAMJA members to also focus beyond the East African Community since the member States are all part of the African Union Agenda, which operates at the continental level and also seeks to unite the peoples of Africa in a common vision of shared prosperity.
He said the Continent rededicated its focus and mission to attaining the Pan African Vision of “an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens, representing a dynamic force in the international arena geared towards achieving shared and inclusive socio-economic prosperity, unity, peace and security, people driven governance, democracy, accountability, and Africa’s prominence in the global arena.
To succeed in harnessing the East Africa Regional Integration, Maraga said there is need to fully exploit the population of the member countries for their mutual benefit. He added that it is important for the region to uphold systems, governance and political processes that adhere to the dictates of constitutionalism, democracy, rule of law, and good governance. He lauded the establishment of the East African Court of Justice which complements the local judiciaries in enhancing the rule of law.