Why Paul Kagame Declined Offer to Use Kenyan Roads

  • Rwandan President Paul Kagame
    Rwandan President Paul Kagame
  • Ford Kenya Leader and One Kenya Alliance hopeful Moses Wetangula has revealed how a visiting Rwandese President Paul Kagame once declined traveling by road, due to the bad trade experiences Rwandese traders have endured on Kenyan roads.

    Wentagula explained that during his tenure as the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kagame, during his visit to Kenya, revealed his intentions of using the Port of Dar es Salaam as an alternative trade route for Rwanda's trading exploits with Kenya.

    At the time, Wetangula had seen Kagame's request as being counterintuitive, given that it would be a laborious and longer route. Kagame however went on to explain that he had opted to avoid travel via Mombasa Road to Malaba, due to their numerous roadblocks on Kenyan roads.

    Kagame also explained that he was not fond of Kenyan roads, because police manning the roadblocks had a habit of extorting money from traders travelling from Rwanda

    An image of Moses Wetangula
    Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula at a past event.
    Citizen Digital

    “At every roadblock, the exporters and importers of Rwanda are paying a lot of money, making business extremely unbearable and expensive,” explained Kagame to Wetangula.

    Wetangula narrated his interaction with President Kagame, recounting how the conversation went regarding Kagame's reasons for wanting to avoid Kenyan roads.

    “I remember when I was a Foreign Affairs minister, the president of Rwanda came to Kenya and said he was contemplating using the port of Dar es Salaam despite the distance because of the number of roadblocks from Mombasa to the exit in Malaba,” said Wetangula recounting the incident.

    Wetangula and other leaders have expressed their frustration with the numerous roadblocks on roads which he explained killed trade relationships between Kenya and other neighboring countries.

    He explained that countries such as Burundi, Uganda, Congo, and Rwanda, which use the Mombasa port to import goods feel very aggrieved for having to pay numerous fees (bribes) while ferrying goods on Mombasa road.

    “This is probably the country with the highest number of roadblocks anywhere. We need better management of our roads," said Wetangula.

    Wetangula's sentiments are shared by Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei, who has for a long time decried the bad state of roads in Kenya, as well as the numerous roadblocks which police use as bribery spots where they extort Kenyans.

    "When you come to these roadblocks, you have to part with Ksh 2000 to Ksh 5000 on the spot," said Cherargei.

    Rwandan President Paul Kagame walks alongside President Uhuru Kenyatta during the Umwiherero Conference in Kigali, Rwanda on March 11, 2019
    Rwandan President Paul Kagame walks alongside President Uhuru Kenyatta during the Umwiherero Conference in Kigali, Rwanda on March 11, 2019