Eastern African politicians and bureaucrats owe their citizens at least one thing this decade: to prioritize and fast track the formation of the East African Community. They killed it in 1977; they shouldn’t take another generation to revive it. Why? Because it is the right of East Africans – let’s say it is our human right – to let the citizens of Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi or South Sudan to cross the borders freely, do business, fraternize, love and marry, study, seek medical treatment, holiday, look for work and be East Africans. For that is what they had been doing for millennia until the mzungu [European] came around and drew imaginary lines to separate them.
The so-called anti-colonial struggles were nothing but battles for human rights. They were about the right for native Africans to study, eat what they wished to, grow crops they wanted to grow, travel, do business, visit relatives; in other words, be Africans in their respective communities, languages, cultures, villages, homes and houses. Period. So, why are our politicians unwilling today to re-make what has always been? Is it because they don’t see it as a right; as the correct thing to do? Shouldn’t ordinary citizens then either ignore them and go on with what we have always done or insist that they legalize the union?