Regime Change and Its Implications on Eastern Africa Community
Mbithi, Carolyne Karimi
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The attainment of a fully integrated East African region through the East African Community is yet to be realised. This is because most of the agreements pertaining integration are yet to be fully implemented while some are way past their implementation deadline. The East Africa Common Market Protocol, for instance, came into force in July 2010 after being ratified by member states. However, its practical implementation is considered a process that must take place over time since to-date, the free movement of labour, goods, and capital and across partner states has not been actualized by most EAC citizens. The EAC Common Market was meant to merge partner states’ markets into a single market in which there is free mobility of persons, services, labour, goods, capital and the right of establishment and residence. The Monetary Union protocol which was scheduled for 2012 is already behind schedule and therefore delays in full implementation of the Customs Union and Common Market protocol can only translate to delays in the implementation of the Monetary Union and Political Federation protocols. Timely implementation of EAC agreed decisions has been inadequate and similarly, the implementation of this protocol has been slow. For instance, there is failure by individual member states to lift legal barriers like recognition of business certificates for each other and double taxation. The study’s overall aim is to unearth the implications that regime change has in ensuring the unification the East African region. The study has explored the steps so far taken towards East Africa integration and the precise objectives of the study are; to analyse the role(s) that the different Heads of state in Kenya have played to ensure East Africa integration, to examine the effects of Heads of state transition in Kenya on regional integration in East Africa, to establish what the current Kenyan regime can do to speed up the process of achieving a fully integrated East African region. In this study, the Hegemonic Stability theory that is based on the presence of a hegemony that ensures stability of the international system and the Structural Functionalism theory which factors in a society as a complex system that is constitutes of segments that work together with an intent of achieving a set goal will be used. Descriptive research design was used in the study. The target population for the study was the Ministry of East African Community, Labor and Social protection, Political scientists, retired and serving ambassadors. Stratified random sampling was used to obtain a sample size of 130 respondents. The data was collected by use of self-structured questionnaires which were directly administered to the respondents, as well as individual interview schedules. Analysis of the qualitative data was done by use of both the framework analysis and the thematic analysis approaches while the quantitative data was analyzed through theme coding. This area of study found out that the state head plays quite a significant role towards regional integration which include enhancing policy formulation as well as establishing linkages between different regional blocs geared towards this integration. In addition, it was revealed through this study that, although the head of state holds meetings to discuss regional integration little has been done with regard to formulation of new policies as well as establishing a concrete legal frame-work to safeguard the issues concerning regional integration. The study concluded that the EAC state governments can steer effort of integration as long as there is the will to put in more resources which will go along with creating a friendly environment of trade between and among member states, hence resulting to mutual benefit of these states in terms of creating opportunities for their citizens.