Dar es Salaam. The 21st ordinary meeting of the summit of the East African Community (EAC) heads of state which was slated for February 29, 2020 has been postponed.
The meeting that was expected to take place at the EAC headquarters in Arusha has been postponed to pave the way for South Sudan to conclude the forming the new transitional Government of National Unity (ToGONU) bringing together the government and opposition groups.
In a letter dated February 21, 2020, Rwanda’s minister of State in charge of the EAC, Olivier Nduhungirehe informed the EAC Secretary General Liberat Mfumukeko on the decision. Rwanda is the current EAC chair.
“After consultations with the chair of the EAC heads of state summit, I have the honour to both inform and request you to notify partner states that the above mentioned meeting has been postponed due to a request from the Republic of South Sudan,” reads the statement posted in the EAC website.
According to the statement, a new date will be communicated after consultations with EAC partner states.
Following the decision, the 41st extra-ordinary meeting of the EAC council of ministers that was scheduled to take place from February 25 to February 27, 2020 in Arusha to prepare for the summit meeting has also been cancelled.
The South Sudan undersecretary for EAC Affairs in the ministry of Trade, Industry and EAC Affairs requested for the postponement, noting that ToGONU formation would mean a lot of changes in the government that will probably affect its organizational structure.
“With that in mind, minister, Paul Mayom Akech directed me to notify the EAC secretariat that South Sudan will not be able to take part in the summit. Given the significance of the meeting, we are requesting for a postponement until mid-March 2020,” wrote Mr Mou Mou.
According to him, reaching March this year, the newly-formed government will be ready to continue with business as usual.
Decision making at the EAC is by consensus with quorum being constituted by the presence of partner states.
The absence of one member state will therefore mean absence of the quorum for the summit meeting for decisions to be made according to the Summit Procedure Rule 11.