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EAC heads of state summit cancelled again




Tanzanian President John Magufuli and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni leave the State House in Dar es Salaam on August 9, 2018. PHOTO | COURTESY 

Signs of widening cracks among states emerged Wednesday when the Summit of the East African Community (EAC) Heads of State was cancelled for the second time in three weeks.

The meeting of the regional leaders which was to take place at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) on December 27 has been pushed to a later date.

“It is now official. The summit will not take place on December 27,” stated the EAC deputy secretary general (Production and Social Sectors) Christophe Bazivamo.

He told The Citizen that the date and venue of the twice postponed 20th summit will be communicated to the partner states and the public at a later date.

He added that the ministerial segment of the summit, which was to begin Thursday in Arusha has been put off indefinitely.

Unconfirmed reports within the EAC circles had it that the meeting was likely to be held anytime from February or March next year.

That would give a breathing space to the organisers after a long festive season and time to ponder the uncertain future of the EAC given the resource challenges and deteriorating relations between some member states.

Mr Bazivamo would not tell why the much awaited summit had been postponed again even after Burundi, which forced the adjournment of the November 30 summit, announced it would attend.

“The presidents have been consulting and keep on consulting over this,” he said, without giving details.

The deputy SG was the first executive official of the community to hint that the meeting of the regional leaders was already on the rocks.

On Tuesday, he hinted there was no likelihood of the summit taking place and said a communication to the effect would be issued.

By late Wednesday, EAC’s directorate of Corporate Affairs and Public Information had not issued an official statement on cancellation of the key meeting.

Regional analysts and observers reached in Arusha said they were not surprised, pointing out the widening cracks in the six-nation bloc, including the recent strong exchange between the Burundi and Uganda leaders over Rwanda.