I have learned that one of the principal purposes of the just concluded Kyankwanzi week long seminar for NRM legislators was to discuss acceleration of the East African economic integration and political federation. I have written extensively on this subject and posted articles on Ugandans at Heart Forum and on www.kashambuzi.com. Therefore the message to NRM legislators will be brief.
As a majority party in parliament you have a special responsibility to promote, defend and protect the interests of Ugandans in whatever you do. Any negotiation must bring net gains to Uganda. The history of the East African cooperation appears to have yielded fewer benefits but more losses to Uganda. This must be avoided in the current and future negotiations. To prepare yourselves well you may need to look at what has happened or is happening in other parts of the world engaged in a similar exercise.
Regarding political federation MPs are urged to study why the following failures have occurred:
1. The Central African federation of Northern and Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland;
2. The Yugoslavia federation;
3. The czechoslovakia federation
Why the European federation is taking so long to realize. Why the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar has been a difficult one. Why East African member states failed to form a federation upon attainment of independence in the early 1960s.
Regarding economic integration NRM legislators are urged to understand fully the causes for the breakup of the first East African Community (1967-77). If they still exist, they need to be addressed.
NRM legislators need also to understand steps that the European Union (EU) is taking to ensure lasting success. The lessons of Southern African Development Community (SADC) are also worth exploring.
Not least a familiarization with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) experience would be useful. An article by Robert A. Pastor titled: The Future of North America: Replacing a Bad Neighbor Policy (Foreign Affairs July/August 2008) is worth reading among others.
The knowledge extracted from these experiences hopefully will help you to prepare well and proceed carefully so that our children will not inherit deficits from bad negotiations.