Fresh Opportunity for Sudan to Join EAC
The recent entry of oil-rich South Sudan into the East African Community (EAC) could pave the way for neighbouring Sudan to join, despite being refused five years ago, analysts say.
Heads of State from the EAC blocked Sudan’s initial application in 2011 on the grounds it didn’t meet the geographical and border requirements set out by the bloc. However, the country could now argue the admission of neighbouring South Sudan bridges the gaps created by the countries splitting in 2011.
Sudan admission ‘will not be a major issue’
Analyst Karithi Murimi says Sudan’s admission into the EAC could now be a simple process if the country pushes the issue.
“Sudan was told to agree on custom protocol and inter-relationship issues when its request was turned down in 2011,” he told Nation. “It has not put its paperwork together and filed them with the EAC secretariat, [but] if they complete their paperwork, admission will not be a major issue.”
Human rights concerns remain
Although the EAC pinpointed geographical requirements as its reason for blocking Sudan’s initial request, the country’s human rights record was also a point of concern. Both Uganda and Tanzania opposed Sudan’s application over human rights issues and fears the country’s bad image could discourage investors.
Sudan’s human rights record is notorious and the country’s president has an outstanding warrant for his arrest by the ICC. He’s charged with multiple accounts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Human Rights Watch described the country as making “no progress in its abysmal rights record” in the organisation’s 2015 report.
That said, the UN has tallied a series of accusations at the South Sudanese government and rebel fighters in the country over grave human rights violations. Which only compounds any argument Sudan decides to make that it warrants a place in the EAC.
By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt/Released – DefenseImagery.mil, VIRIN 090131-N-0506A-347, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6058540