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East African Community states should rally behind Dr Mathuki

Sunday February 28 2021

The East African Community has opened a new chapter after it confirmed Kenya’s Dr Peter Mathuki as the Secretary-General of the regional bloc.

This is a commendable decision by the EAC, one which indicates that there is hope for the community amidst all the setbacks that have in the recent past been too vivid and frequent, derailing major decisions pertinent to the future and survival of the regional integration.

Dr Peter Mutuku Mathuki will be the next East African Community Secretary-General after receiving an endorsement from heads of State at a virtual summit yesterday afternoon. This marks a change in leadership which will determine how the EAC performs in the coming months.

Member States of the EAC should rest assured of a new approach in tackling regional matters, especially in the spheres of business, one of the areas that have had inconsistent growth within the bloc. However, Dr Mathuki, who is a long-term Executive Director of the East African Business Council, is assessed as someone capable of converging different views from member States. This means that the deadlocks that were often leered their ugly heads when it came to making major decisions impacting all member States will be less common.

Dr Mathuki has also maintained cordial relations with corporate bodies in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. In fact, it is the Kenyan corporate bodies that proposed his name to President Uhuru Kenyatta as someone capable of steering the regional integration to new heights.

The private sector from the EAC member States play a crucial role in sustaining the bloc’s survival. It, therefore, comes as positive news that Dr Mathuki was fronted by the private sector as a suitable man to help address challenges witnessed in the last five years which nearly killed the community.

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Seasoned leader

Handling different matters, from political to economic will not be something new to the Secretary-General. He is Executive Director of the East African Business Council, a body that includes private sector associations in member states of the EAC.

His role in the EAC Business Council means that he is already conversant with the many business affairs that the under the bloc. The insight he has attained over the years will come in handy when dealing with the more complex business issues affecting the prosperity and envisioned success of the EAC.

Furthermore, what is of more merit is the fact that Dr Mathuki is believed to have sufficient experience and contacts useful to address incessant wrangles in the community. It is for this reason, among others, that corporate players convinced President Kenyatta on Friday to select Dr Mathuki from a list of 12 candidates.

In order to see the integration succeed, Dr Mathuki will have to hit the ground running by addressing the core issues that have been a recent thorn whenever the secretariat would meet to find a way forward.

What gives East Africans the assurance that the appointed new EAC Secretary-General will competently execute his duties is the fact that all member States have agreed to cooperate with him as he devises ways to make the bloc stable and more impactful.