The East African Community yesterday marked its 20th Anniversary with pomp and fanfare at its Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

Uganda’s 2nd Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for EAC Affairs, Hon. Dr. Ali Kirunda Kivejinja, who presided over the event, said that EAC Partner States would not repeat the mistake of the past that led to the collapse of the first Community.

Dr. Kivejinja said that the cost of the collapse of the first EAC was monumental in terms of the loss of jobs, incomes and other benefits to East Africans.

Dr. Kivejinja said that the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC was the bible of the Community which should guide all matters around the integration process and warned against politicising issues that could be settled amicably by the Partner States.

Deputy Minister of East Africa Affair Hon.Kirunda Kivejinja

He urged all EAC Staff to take their work seriously, adding that it was a privilege to serve the entire region in their various capacities.

The Deputy Prime Minister said that East Africans have a common history, ancestry and were the descendants of the first human being describing East Africa as the cradle-land of all mankind.

He observed that East Africa, and by extension Africa, had all the necessary human and material resources to create the society it wants.

In his remarks, EAC Secretary General Ambassador Liberat Mfumukeko disclosed that a regional campaign comprising several activities was being carried out to highlight key milestones as part of celebrations of the Community’s 20th Anniversary.

Ambassador Mfumukeko noted that the region had made tremendous achievements through various policy initiatives including new infrastructure, regional industrialisation policies, healthcare programmes, a common external tariff and a Common Higher Education Area, adding that there was still room to do more as most East Africans were yet to reap the benefits of the integration.

Also present at the event were the Judge President of the East African Court of Justice, Justice Dr. Emmanuel Ugirashebuja, the Secretary General of the Pan African Postal Union, Mr. Younouss Djibrine, Mr. Jean Philips for the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, East African Legislative Assembly MPs, EAC members of staff, students, teachers and members of the public.