East African Community leaders on February 27, appointed Kenya’s Peter Mathuki, as the next Secretary-General of the regional bloc. He takes over from Burundi’s Liberat Mfumukeko, who’s completing his five-year term. Peter Mathuki has been serving as executive director of East African Business Council (EABC).
He was appointed during the 21st ordinary summit of the EAC Heads of State, held virtually owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. The meeting was convened by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda in his capacity as outgoing chair of the Summit. Unveiling Mathuki as the new EAC secretary general, President Kagame said, “we look forward to working closely, together.” Dr Mathuki, a long-term Executive Director of the East African Business Council, emerged the top candidate after corporate bodies proposed his name to President Uhuru Kenyatta as someone capable of converging different views from member States. He was fronted by the private sector as a suitable man to help address challenges witnessed in the last five years.
“Since 2018, Peter Mathuk promoted business interests in the bloc”
Peter Mathuki, who holds a PhD in Strategic Management and Regional Integration from the University of Nairobi, has been at helm of EABC since 2018, during which he promoted business interests in the bloc.
He has also been involved in the process to kick-start the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and establishment of the African Business Council. As EAC boss, Mathuki also actively urged for the admission of the DR Congo into the regional bloc. He formerly served as a Member of Parliament of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), where he chaired the EALA committee on good governance, and also a served on the committee of trade and investment.
He also previously served as director in charge of International Labour Standards at the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) -Africa, which later became ITUC-Africa, and in the European Union programmes for Africa.
Mathuki also sits on several boards such as the Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest), Nairobi, and the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), Kampala. He is a member of the Kenya Institute of Management (KIM). He was instrumental in the negotiation of the EAC Common Market Protocol and regional economic issues since 2004.
‘Big task’ awaits Mathuki
The EAC secretary general runs affairs of the bloc’s secretariat, the executive organ of the Community. It is the secretariat that ensures that the regulations and directives adopted by the Council of Ministers are properly implemented, and provides the Council of Ministers with strategic recommendations.
The headquarters of the EAC secretariat is located in Arusha, Tanzania. At the head of the EAC secretariat is the secretary general, the principal executive and accounting officer of the Community as well as the Secretary of the Summit. They are appointed by the Summit for a fixed five-year, non-renewable term.
Earlier this week, MP Aden Omar Abdikadir, a Kenyan member of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), told The New Times that “the new SG will have a big task ahead.” Abdikadir said that there was a lot of mistrust among partner states partly because of lack of a strong organ to coordinate integration. “The new SG needs to move with speed to build trust and relationships between organs of the community and between partner states,” Abdikadir noted. “We need a person who can coordinate the EAC institutions and organs better to make sure they are serving the purpose they are there for and deliver for the people of East Africa.”
EAC comprises six nations, namely; Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. DR Congo and Somalia have also applied to join
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