The East African Community: The Bumpy Road to Supranationalism - Some Reflections on the Judgments of the Court of Justice of the East African Community in Anyang' Nyong'O and Others and East African Law Society and Others

35 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2009

Date Written: April 21, 2009

Abstract

While in many regions in the world States merely seem to play lip-service to the need for regional integration, States in Eastern Africa have made serious efforts to merge their economies, to cooperate in a series of fields and even to achieve political integration. While things seem to be moving in the right direction, there are also hurdles on the way on the road to East African integration. One of these hurdles involves the recognition and awareness that being part of a common project and a common supranational-like entity implies a loss of sovereignty and the possibility of being bound against one’s own will. Recent events demonstrate that that awareness has not fully sunk in yet among all parties involved. In November 2006 the EAC Court of Justice delivered an interim ruling preventing nine Kenyan parliamentarians from being sworn in as members of the East African Legislative Assembly on the ground that the Kenyan rules for electing members of the EALA were prima facie at odds with the EAC Treaty. The ruling met hostility and the Partner States responded in a manner that did not reflect great respect for the notion of an independent judiciary: they amended the EAC Treaty with a view to inter alia extending the grounds for removing judges from the Court of Justice. Amidst all the political turmoil, and in spite of the huge political pressure, however, the Court kept its back straight and concluded in two subsequent judgment that both the Kenyan elections rules and the treaty amendment infringed the Treaty.

Keywords: Regional Integration, East African Community, Court of Justice of the East African Community, Institutional Balance

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

van der Mei, Anne Pieter, The East African Community: The Bumpy Road to Supranationalism - Some Reflections on the Judgments of the Court of Justice of the East African Community in Anyang' Nyong'O and Others and East African Law Society and Others (April 21, 2009). Maastricht Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2009-7, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1392709 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1392709

Anne Pieter Van der Mei (Contact Author)

International and European Law ( email )

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