A Critical Analysis of Role of Print Media in the East Africa Community (EAC) Integration

Research Paper (postgraduate), 2011

65 Pages, Grade: none

Consolata Mutisya (Author)



1.0 Background
1.1 Statement of the Problem
1.2 Justification of the Study
1.3 Objectives
1.4 Research Questions
1.5 Assumptions of the Study
1.6 Significance of the Study
1.7 Limitations of the Study
1.8 Definition ofTerms
1.9 Chapter Outline

2.0 Introduction
2.1 African Integration
2.2 Regional Integration in East Africa
2.3 The Role of Communication in African Integration
2.4 The Role of Communication in East African Integration
2.5 The Structure ofPrint Media in East Africa
2.6 Theoretical Framework

3.0 Introduction
3.1 Research Design
3.2 Unit of Analysis
3.3 Sample and Sampling Procedure
3.4 Coding Procedures
3.5 Data Analysis

4.0 Introduction
4.1 General Information on Various Articles

5.0 Introduction
5.2 Issues given priority by print media as regards EAC and how they are framed

6.0 Introduction
6.1 Summary
6.2 Conclusions
6.3 Recommendations




1.0 Background

Attempts to unite the East African Countries dates back to the colonial period (Odebero, 2011). Formal economic and social integration in the East African Region began in 1897 with construction of the Kenya Uganda Railway (Kirungi & Okello, 2011). Several bodies were formed as part of this integration. These bodies were to manage matters regarding the East African Countries as well as regulate commercial and Industrial Relations and transactions between the partner states. (Donald, 2007). Some of these bodies were: The Customs Collection Centre (1900), the East African Currency Board (1905), the court of Appeal for Eastern African (1909), the East African Customs Union (1919), The East Africa Governors Conference (1926), the East African Income Tax Board (1940) and the joint Economic Council (1940). The East African High Commission (1947), and The East African Common Services Organization (1961). This arrangement remained stable until 1977 when the community collapsed. There are varied reasons leading to the collapse of the Community but the main one was the incompatibility of the governance systems between Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The countries had different levels of development and other partners felt that Kenya was benefiting more from the original arrangement as it was the dominant economy. The community had not set up adequate policies to address this problem.

The desire for cooperation between the partner states still persisted. At the winding up agreement in 1984, the heads of state directed that the respective ministers should continue exploring other areas of mutual cooperation. Subsequent meetings of the three Heads of State led to the signing of the Agreement for the Establishment of the Permanent Tripartite Commission for East African Co-operation on November 30, 1993. Considerable work went into this process such that by 30th November 1999, the treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community was signed by the three original partner states: Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The EAC Treaty came into force in July 2000 marking a major milestone in the revival of the East African integration project. Rwanda and Burundi, two neighboring countries expressed interest in joining the EAC and on the 18th June 2007 they both assented to the EAC Treaty and became full members of the community on the 1st July 2009 (Kirungi & Okello, 2011).

The world is shrinking rapidly with the advent of faster communication, transportation and financial flows (Kotler, A. 2004). This is referred to as globalization. Due to the rapid nature of this process world states are making frantic efforts to integrate. Hence regionalism and integration “are enjoying a renaissance” (Grant and Soderbaum, 2003).

According to Nyambuga, (2010) regional integration has led to the formation of organizations in various parts of the world. Some of these are: the South Asia Association for regional cooperation (SAARC), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the European Union (EU) among others. At the continental level are the South African Development Community (SADC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Economic Community for Central African States (ECCAS). The idea of integrating all African states into a single country has been gaining ground since 2007. This was during the African Heads of State Summit in Accra, Ghana in June 2007. The desire was to form the continental union immediately as advocated by a more radical group led by Libyan Leader Muammar Ghadaffi. However the opinion of other moderate states led by Kenya was that the integration should be gradual. This carried the day and efforts are now geared to strengthening all the structures necessary for the eventual formation of a Unites States of Africa. (Orjiako, D. 2008).

All these regional bodies have mission statements which have a similar core function. The EAC core mission follows a similar line: “to widen and deepen economic political, social and cultural integration in order to improve the quality of life of the people of East Africa through increased competitiveness, value added production, trade and investment” (Mushega, 2006: 7). In this quest, several actors are considered key to regionalism and integration. One of these is the media, which helps make sense on behalf of the public the meaning of integration and regionalism, as well as drawing attention to the opportunities and challenges of such initiatives. The media’s role is based on the premise that disseminating ideas of regionalism and integration, how such a regional body works, and what benefits accrue to the citizenry, would lead to a greater regional consciousness among the mass population and consequently generate an EAC culture (Garza 2009).

This study proposes to evaluate the role of print media in the integration of the East African Community (EAC). It thus sets out to investigate how print media could advance or retard the vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful East Africa, a community driven by its own citizens, a dynamic force in the global arena. The media is a critical instrument in the East African integration process, as the extent to which citizens engage with public affairs and the political process depends significantly on the quality and volume of communication that is transacted on issues in the public domain. The media may also help to mobilize political and other action; and monitor the activities of public officials. It is important to note that the media plays a critical role in public perception and understanding of regional integration (Nyambuga, 2011; McComb and Shaw, 1968).

There are various print media in the partner states and they are playing a crucial role in promoting the policies and values of integration. Two independent national newspapers, the Daily Nation, The East African Standard and regional and specialized papers like the Business Daily and The Star feature quality reporting, as does the weekly, The EastAfrican, which is published in Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Kampala. In Kenya most of the newspapers are in English e.g. the East African Standard, Daily Nation and The People are in English and are the most widely circulated. Taifa Leo is the only newspaper in Swahili. It is Tanzania where we have many newspapers which use Kiswahili as their language of expression. Some of these newspapers are government owned while others are owned by private proprietors. In Tanzania Most of the newspapers are in Swahili. These are the Mwananchi and Tanzanian newspapers like ‘Nipashe, Mzalendo and others continue to swarm Ugandan and Kenyan streets. In Uganda the main newspaper is The Guardian it’s in English The papers carry political commentaries, economic reviews, stories, etc. Like other domains, this print media is instrumental in establishing a cord of strong bond amongst the East Africans. (Habwe, J.H.2009).

1.1 Statement of the Problem

The East African Integration has been going on since the inception of the second East African Community in 2000. The Integration pace has been gaining momentum as time wears on and as important protocols are passed by the Heads of State. With the admission of Rwanda and Burundi into the Community, the scope of integration was extended even further. The respective partner states have established a Ministry of East African Cooperation. All these efforts are at the official level. The concern of this research study is that the common man is unaware of what is going on at the regional level. The current chairman of the East African Community Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi had this to say about this issue of informing and involving the common man in the affairs ofEAC:

The new Summit Chairman said “The structures and institutions of the EAC must be reformed to conform to the demands of a new era” during his tenure, he would work closely with the staff and management of the EAC organs and institutions including the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) on ways to make the Community a more efficient organization that could cope with the challenges of the 21st century. Noting that there was widespread ignorance among East Africans on the integration process, President Nkurunziza said he would ensure that the Secretariat intensified its publicity and marketing efforts to reach out to as many people as possible in the region about the EAC’s programmes and projects, and the benefits that would accrue to them. ...It is imperative that the EAC gives further focus on creating a mindset shift such that the people of the region can think and act East African... Nkurunziza said, adding that sensitization would create firm awareness and promote ordinary people’s participation in the integration process. (The Jumuiya News, Dec, 2010).

This paper seeks to investigate the role print media have played in East African Integration.

1.2 Justification of the Study

The media is very crucial in any integration undertaken by member states of a certain region. The African Union (AU), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and The South African Development Commission (SADC) have used the media to educate their respective citizens on the benefits accruing from the integration (Orjiako, D.T. 2008). This is aptly captured by George Nyambuga in an article about the East African Integration:

Among the most cited reasons for the importance of mass media to a society, two stand out: that media are the source of the information people need to make informed choices and decisions and that they serve as the channel through which mass communication is achieved. As a source of information and a platform which people can articulate and aggregate their opinions, there is no doubt that the media, however modestly, have helped EastAfricans make sense of integration and under the rubric of the East African Community (EAC).

This study will be essential in that it will explain the various ways in which the media can be useful in enhancing the integration of the East African States. The concept of integration is often not clearly or indeed deeply internalized, and many people, particularly the ordinary populace in member states, remain ignorant of the benefits accruing from the current EAC. If the media has been giving lukewarm efforts, then it would be imperative upon the media and the east African states to engage each other so that they can sensitize the common man about the benefits of integration (Nyambuga, G. (2011).

1.3 Objectives

The overall objective of this research is to assess the role played by the print media in the EAC integration process. The specific objectives will be:

1. To establish the amount of coverage print media gives to EAC issues.
2. Determine issues given priority by the print media as regards EAC
3. Establish how print media frames issues related to EAC
4. To establish the accuracy, framing and balancing coverage of the East African Integration.

1.4 Research Questions

The main research question is:

How does print media cover EA integration?

The specific research questions are:
1. What amount of coverage does print media give EAC issues compared to other media?
2. What issues are given prime coverage by media on EAC?
3. How does print media frame EAC?
4. What roles are print media playing in EAC integration?

1.5 Assumptions of the Study

The following assumptions will be made:

1. Print media can enhance the integration process as it has a wide coverage among the EAC citizens.
2. Lack of proper communication from the Ministries of EAC has slowed down the process of integration
3. Print media are heavily biased to national news as compared to regional news

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study aims to address the challenges to East African Integration and assess the role played by the print media in redressing these challenges and in creating awareness among the stakeholders. This will aid the community and the respective ministries in the member states to refine their communication policies to involve and inform the citizens of the member states in a more robust way. This in turn will increase the speed of integration. At an academic level the study will be relevant to the pan Africanists, the media fraternity, the communication experts and researchers, as well as students of history in East Africa, Africa and the Diaspora. Its findings will add to already existing knowledge on the role of communication in African Integration (Orjiako, D. 2008).

1.7 Limitations of the Study

This study will be limited to the articles in the print media between the years 2005 and 2011. This is the time when the pace of integration started increasing and the print media started to articulate the regional issues regularly. Most of the protocols establishing the operation of the secretariat were also passed during this period. One of the most important protocols to be signed was the EAC Common Market Protocol that came into force on July 1 2010.

1.8 Definition of Terms

EAC - East African Community EU - European Union AEA - American Economic Association OAU - Organization of African Unity AU - African Union

PTA - Preferential Trade Area

COMESA - Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa ECCAS - Economic Community for Central African States AMU - The Arab Maghreb Union

SADC - South African Development Community

CEN-SAD - Community of Sahelo - Saharan States IGAD - Inter-governmental Authority for Development

Bretton Woods institutions - This refers to The World Bank and the International Monetary Finance (IMF)

CSOs - This refers to Civil Society Organizations

1.9 Chapter Outline

Chapter one covers the introduction and background of the study, the statement of the problem, the objectives of the study, the research questions, the justification of the study, the limitation of the study and the theoretical framework.

CHAPTER TWO Literature Review

2.0 Introduction

Literature review seeks to examine in detail the available literature and studies that have already been conducted and which are directly related to the topic under study. Mugenda and Mugenda (1999) acknowledge that the purpose of literature review is to establish what has already been done with reference to the area the researcher is working on. The researcher, in this case, reviews thoroughly what other scholars have done on the subject. Mutai (2000) states that “literature review helps to sharpen and define understanding of the existing knowledge in the problem area, provides a background for research project and makes a reader aware of the current status of the issue.”

This chapter will look at the issue of integration from an African perspective and then move on to the East African Community integration. The main thread of the review will be to look at how the print media and media generally have aided the integration process.

2.1 African Integration

Globalization is increasing the rate of integration among countries of the world. The success of some older regional blocks such as the European Union (EU) and the American Economic Association (AEA) has convinced other countries that forming regional blocks is the way to uplift the social economic status of their citizens and develop closer economic links with other countries. Regionalism and integration are, “enjoying a renaissance” (Grant & Soderbaum 2003; Nyambuga, G., 2011). The idea of African integration was mooted by the founding fathers of the Pan Africanism Movement namely, William Dubois: 1868-1963, United States; Marcus Gravey: 1887 - 1972, Jamaica; George Padmore: 1902 - 1952, Trinidad and their disciples in Africa such as Jomo Kenyatta and Kwame Nkurumah (Orjiako T. D., 2008). According to Orjiako T. D., (2008) “the objective of Pan Africanism were among other things, to build African unity through the establishment of the United States of Africa, with the aim of not only eliminating colonial borders, but also of eradicating the differences arising from ethnic, racial and linguistic pluralism”

The independence of Ghana in 1957, added the momentum of African leaders to integrate. Following several meetings the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was born in May, 25, 1963. It was established as a Pan - African framework for the promotion and cooperation among African States and the total liberation of the continent from colonial rule. The membership comprised of all independent African States. Since its inception the Organization of African Unity has managed to weather various storms until 2002 when it was transformed into the African Union (AU) (Orjiako T. D., 2008).

The launch of the African Union (2002) in Durban, South Africa, marked the beginning of a new chapter in the African history. The idea was that “the political integration should be the raison d’être of the African Union, the key objective being to achieve a federation or a confederation in the long run What won the day was the idea of building African unity on the basis of regional grouping”[1] Speaking of the birth of AU, President Nelson Mandela said: it is “the start of a more coordinated effort by the African people to realize their dreams of achieving economic, political and social integration”[2]

The African Union has achieved a lot in terms of integration by forming regional bodies. Notable among these are: the Preferential Trade Area (PTA), a body that was eventually transformed into the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) 1975 based in Lagos, Nigeria; Economic Community for Central African States (ECCAS) 1983, based in Libreville, Gabon; The Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) 1989 based in Rabat, Morocco; South African Development Community (SADC) 1990, based in Gaborone, Botswana; Community of Sahelo - Saharan States (CEN­SAD) 1998 based in Tripoli, Libya and Inter-governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) 1996 based in Djibouti(Orjiako, D.T. 2008).

Despite such efforts, however, there seems to be a consensus that the success of all the RECs (Regional Economic Communities) in achieving their objectives has been less than satisfactory (Johnson, 1995, Lyakurwa, 1997). Foroutan and Prichett (1993), however, note that the intra- Africa trade is not small compared to what should be expected. Various reasons are suggested as causes for the lack of progress in regional integration efforts in Africa. Chief among these reasons, are unwillingness of governments to: (i) surrender sovereignty of macroeconomic policy making to a regional authority; (ii) face potential consumption costs that may arise by importing from a high cost member country; (iii) accept unequal distribution of gains and losses that may follow an integration agreement, and (iv) discontinue existing economic ties with non-members (Johnson, 1995, p. 213). Lyakurwa et al (1997, p. 176) further adds to the list, “lack of a strong and sustained political commitment and macroeconomic instability”, among others, have hindered the progress of economic integration in Africa.

Despite the unsatisfactory performance to date, however, there seems to be a new momentum to Invigorate the process of integration of African economies. This is reflected in the resurgence of political will expressed in the Abuja Treaty of1991. Among others, first, formation and the strengthening of various regional blocks outside of Africa (in Europe, Asia and the Americas) seems to have forced African countries to reconsider the issue more seriously if they are to avoid further marginalization. Second, the realization by African countries (particularly the small ones) that their respective national markets are too small to provide the benefits of economies of scale and specialization. Third, the liberalization initiatives undertaken by almost all countries in Africa (mainly sponsored by the Bretton Woods institutions) has also created a conducive environment to pursue an outward-looking economic policy, which encompasses economic cooperation in general and trade liberalization policy in particular.

Whether these factors, among others, are sufficient to take the integration initiative to a higher level or not remains to be seen, but that they have created some optimism than ever before is apparent (Alemayehu, G and Haile, K. 2002).

2.2 Regional Integration in East Africa

Regional integration in East Africa dates back to the colonial era (to be exact 1919). The momentum to integrate picked after independence. In fact between 1961 and 1967, the three East African States formed the East African Common Services and this was followed by the first regional integration arrangement, the East African Cooperation of 1967 - 1977. However this effort came to a halt in 1977, leaving the regional arrangement in abeyance for nearly two decades (Ng’eno et al., 2003; Mwaura, A. 2010).

However, a lot of concern has been raised on the poor record of sustainability of regional integration schemes in the continent. Among other factors, this has been attributable to lack of strong and sustainable political commitment and good will (Haile, 2000) and restrictions on human capital mobility. Despite the initial lukewarm support for regional integration efforts, there has emerged a keen interest in the scheme in the region that has seen a revival of the EAC that kicked off in 1992. The efforts of the three East African countries - Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda - bore fruits when the East African Community Treaty was signed on 30 November 1999, ratified and subsequently enforced on 7 July 2000.

According to Oedebero (2011), the recent joining of Rwanda and Burundi indicates a new zeal and enthusiasm that may signal a departure from the initial effort for a plethora of reasons. Scholarly works on global politics (Ray and Kaarbo, 2003) have argued that the renewed interest in regional integration plans could be because of the formation and strengthening of various regional blocs outside Africa (Europe, Asia and America), thereby setting the global trend.


[1] Vision of the African Union and Mission of the African Union Commission, March 2004, Office of the Chairperson, of the African Union Commission, p. 18

[2] Mandela Nelson, 2002, Message from Nelson Mandela on the occasion of the launch of the African Union, African Union Directory, Millennium African Communications, South Africa, p.11

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A Critical Analysis of Role of Print Media in the East Africa Community (EAC) Integration
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Consolata Mutisya (Author), 2011, A Critical Analysis of Role of Print Media in the East Africa Community (EAC) Integration, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/186858


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