n Mousaion - The management of the records of the former East African community

Volume 30, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0027-2639



This study discusses the management of the former East African Community (EAC) archives held at the Arusha Records Center (ARC) in Tanzania. The study investigates how the records of the former EAC are currently being managed and proposes strategies for their future management to facilitate preservation and access. Data for the study was collected through interviews, questionnaire, personal observations and documentary reviews. The study reveals that, following the collapse of the former EAC in 1977, no legal arrangements were put in place to ensure the proper future management of the former EAC records. The ARC keeps records of the former EAC, its predecessor organisations and correspondence with its affiliated institutions and agencies. Additionally, unprocessed records currently occupy much-needed storage space, inadequate funding hampers the proper management of the EAC archives and no preservation measures are in place. The study further showed that there were many unprocessed records occupying unnecessary space, that the funds allocated to the management of the EAC archives were insufficient, that there was an acute shortage of storage space, and that preservation measures and finding aids were inadequate. The study also noted that there were very few users of these archives due to the lack of marketing strategies, both locally and regionally. The study concludes that, although the ARC has been managing the former EAC archives since 1979, there was a very real danger of losing these records due to improper management and a failure to comply with international best practices for managing archives. Against this background, the study recommends that the Records and Archives Management Division (RAMD) should formulate access and preservation policies, prepare detailed finding aids, develop a disaster preparedness plan and launch awareness programmes aimed at enhancing the use of these archival records. It is further recommended that records of the former EAC be managed as a mutual or shared heritage, or alternatively that the RAMD of Tanzania should hand over these records to the new EAC for digitisation and microfilming of the archives as a means to ensure their long-term preservation and accessibility.

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