Reflections on ' People Centered Principle ' in the East African Community: The Current Legal Controversy


  • Petro Protas
  • Theophil Romward


Addressing the causes for the collapse of the first EAC in 1977 was crucial to the founders of the current EAC. Concentration of power on major decisions in the hands of governmental institutions and not the citizens of Partner States was among the factors that led to the collapse of the former EAC. In an attempt to avoid similar mistakes, founders of the EAC enshrined the principle of ' People Centered Community ' in the current Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community as one of the operational principles. In this regard, the EAC Partner States commit themselves towards putting the people of the community at the center of regional integration process. However, this principle seems to be only on paper and not reflected in the actual practice by the EAC Partner States. Therefore, this Article examines the principle of people centered community as provided for in the EAC Treaty and how is reflected in actual practice by the Partner States and institutions of the community. It is argued in this article that the people centered community is vital towards practical achievement of the objectives of the community and that its full implementation not only guarantees the long survival of the community but also creates an avenue for people to appreciate and enjoy the tangible benefits of the integration. Finally, the Article offers recommendations on how best the principle can be operationalized by the EAC-Partner States.