Writes Leo Odera Omolo
REPORTS emerging from the Arusha based secretariat of the EAST African Community says that top Ugandan traders operating inside the Republic of South Sudan have moved to the East African Court of Justice and filed a legal suit asking the court to block the impending admission of that country into the East African Community as its sixth member.
The newest African nation had applied to join the regional trading unit. Its application for the entry into the Eac is expected to be top on agenda for the next summit of the EAC Heads of state and government, which is scheduled for April next year.
The businessmen have cited bad governance, lack of democracy, arbitrary and illegal arrests of its members and detention, rape, maiming and confiscation of merchant goods belonging to its members and confiscation of vehicles.
The legal suit is filed by members of the Uganda Traders Association comprising mainly Ugandans who are doing business in South Sudan. The Ugandans claimed that that country does not meet the criteria and lad down the rules stipulating by the EAC Treaty for admission of its membership. Their objection is on the ground that the juba regime does not met the prerequisite condition and requirements for admission into the EAC membership.
South Sudan government, they claimed has failed the test of good governance, democracy, the rule of law, observance of human rights and social justice. They further accused the Juba regime of failing to satisfy foreign investors operating businesses and trade in that country. Their members are allegedly being killed, maimed, raped and brutally beaten up by that country’s primitive and untrained security personnel. They laid claim of approximately 4.9 US dollars owed to them by South Sudan authorities related to unpaid bill on credit line and compensation for financial losses incurred due to the said violation of universally acceptable trade deals.
However, the Ugandan Minister in-charge of the East African Community Affairs Shem Rugena blamed the traders for having rushed to court, saying that they should have forwarded their claims to the EAC Council of Ministers before fling the court cases.
Meanwhile Kenyans arriving home from South Sudan alleged that close to ten Kenyans have died in that country under very mysterious circumstances. Some of them have disappeared without trace suspected of either held in illegal detention camps of killed.
Kenyans, they claimed, expect bare faced mass deportation and are being asked to finance the cost of their deportation. This is sometime exaggerated by the police, put at Kshs 200,200. Whereas the cost of travelling from Juba to the Kenya South Sudan border posts does not exceed Kshs 30,000 . Those under arrests or placed in police custody are tortured and at the same time being asked to pay colossal amounts of money to buy their freedom.