December 20, 2013 (KAMPALA) - The East African Community (EAC) has said the crisis in South Sudan does not ‘‘augur well’’ for the country’s aspirations to join the bloc.
South Sudan applied to join the East African Community shortly after attaining independence from South Sudan in July 2011.
‘‘The current internal crisis in South Sudan does not augur well with its bid for membership in the Community,’’ said the EAC Secretary General Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera in a statement on Thursday.
Sezibera said the rule of law is one of the conditions that member countries of the EAC should meet.
‘‘The matters to be taken into account by the Partner States in considering the application by a foreign country to become a member of, be associated with, or participate in any of the activities of the Community, shall include that foreign country’s adherence to universally acceptable principles of good governance, democracy, the rule of law, observance of human rights and social justice,’’ the EAC statement said.
The implication for South Sudan is that if the current crisis in the country persists it could be used as a ground to deny it entry into the bloc.
Already in November a group of Ugandan traders opposed to South Sudan’s entry into the East African Community (EAC) filed a case in the in the East African Court of Justice among others arguing that South Sudan does not meet the conditions for admission.
The EAC is a regional intergovernmental organisation with headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. The body comprises of Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and Uganda.
The community provides a potential market of 140 million to its members and possibilities of sharing regional infrastructure such as roads, railway lines, ports and even oil pipelines.
At summit in Kampala in November members received a progress report on South Sudan’s application. An announcement on the country application is expected in 2014.