Three quarters of Ugandans support the idea of a political federation of East Africa and one president for the region by 2013, according to a latest report.
According to the report of the National Consultative Committee, which has been collecting the views of Ugandans on the issue, a total of 75 percent of Ugandans want the creation of the federation speeded up, while 19 percent are opposed to it and 6 percent are undecided.
The 108-page report, quoted by state-owned New Vision on Thursday, was approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday. The same consultations have been carried out in Kenya and Tanzania before Rwanda and Burundi joined the bloc on July 1.
On the principle of a political federation, 81 percent were in favor, 16 percent were against and 3 percent had no opinion.
The supporters of the federation believe that the union will bring free movement of people and goods, a larger market, peace and security and more employment opportunities. They also think it will reduce duplication of efforts and waste of resources. Those opposed to the federation fear political instability because "one leader would be unable to govern all the partner states."
They are also concerned about the implications on land, the loss of identity and cultural values. Some fear Uganda could be marginalized by its more economically developed partners, and are not keen to share the recently discovered oil in western Uganda. Other respondents are worried that Kenyans will dominate the service industry, banking and financial sector.
They also fear Ugandans could lose out because they do not speak Swahili, the national language of Kenya and Tanzania. The respondents also complained about the way Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania treat Ugandans in the border towns yet Ugandans are very hospitable to their neighbors.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has been the most vocal leader in favor of the East Africa federation, which he believed would create a huge market of over 100 million people, consequently triggering fast inflow of investment to the bloc.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Temmuz 2007, 19:56