An Institutional Mission That Nobody Wants to Accomplish

Actors and Interests in the Genesis of the East African Political Federation

  • Alexander Makulilo University of Dar es Salaam
  • Alexander Stroh University of Bayreuth
  • Rodrick Henry University of Dar-es-Salaam


Is the political federation of East Africa an institutional mission that nobody wants to fulfil? The long history of this aspiration suggests at least that fundamental challenges persist as much as the will to go forward with political integration in the region. This contribution identifies political cycles taken by the project of deep political integration in the East African region. We argue that these cycles followed a very similar logic since independence. There is little evidence that the
political will has ever been strong enough to accomplish the mission. Paradoxically, political federation has not disappeared from the regional agenda although partner states have not worked effectively to realise it. We note that confederation has currently been opted as part of a necessary lag strategy with preference for non-implementation of the federation.

Key words: Political Federation, East African Community, Integration, Institutionalism, Colonialism

Author Biographies

Alexander Makulilo, University of Dar es Salaam

Associate Professor, University of Dar es Salaam (Email:

Alexander Stroh, University of Bayreuth

* Junior Professor, University of Bayreuth (Email:

Rodrick Henry, University of Dar-es-Salaam

Lecturer, University of Dar-es-Salaam (Email: