However, aspirations for regional cooperation in East Africa gained individual sovereignty and legitimacy in the post-colonial state in the 1960s, driven primarily by East African pan-African leaders Jomo Kenyatta (Kenya), Julius K. Nyerere (Tanzania) and Milton A. Obote (Uganda). In concrete terms, the three heads of state and government in East Africa were interested, at least initially, in the creation of the political federation as a springboard to regional integration. This wish was reinforced by the Nairobi Declaration of 1963, in which the Heads of State and Government pledged in 1964 to create an East African political federation, stating in particular that “we consider it desirable for our people to have an East African political federation. Throughout East Africa, there is a great desire for unity and an appreciation of the importance of the Federation. The ECJ is primarily responsible for interpreting and implementing the ECAC Treaty. The Court also has the original court, appeal and human rights on treaty issues. For example, partner states; the Secretary-General, as well as legal and physical persons, have the right to appeal because of a Member State`s violation of the ECAC Treaty. The ECJ also has jurisdiction to rule on cases involving the ABC and its staff. The ECJ may be invited by a partner state to terminate an agreement involving the ABC or a partner state. The Court`s decisions are based on a majority judgment.
The Court has attempted, albeit with difficulty and defiance, to exercise and consolidate its independence by adopting decisions submitted to it for decision, some of which are considered contentious. The decisions of the summit during its sessions are achieved by consensus, a process that not only allows for debate among members, but also discourages the win-all system inherent in the majority rule. Specifically, by incorporating consensus as the most practical option for making decisions at summits, the founding fathers made known the difficulties that the ABC could face in the event of an impasse on an issue. Differences of opinion within the EAC I Heads of State and Government Authority, the equivalent of the EAC II summit, notably between Presidents Nyerere and Ugandan Idi Amin Dada, were one of the key factors that made the Community`s action dysfunctional and ultimately disintegrate.