Museveni Bans Kenyan Products in Uganda as Trade War Escalates

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and President Yoweri Museveni during a past summit in Uganda.
    President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and President Yoweri Museveni during a past summit in Uganda.
    Daily Nation
  • Uganda has decided to take action placing an embargo on some of the goods that are coming from Kenya heading to their markets.

    According to a decision arrived at on Tuesday, December 14, President Yoweri Museveni's administration placed a ban on some of the agricultural products coming from Kenya as the trade war escalates.

    The decision was arrived at after Uganda's cabinet approved the move to prohibit goods from Kenya following a meeting that was held on Monday December 13.

    Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni and His Kenyan Counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta
    Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni and His Kenyan Counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta
    File

    Confirming the decision, Rebecca Kadaga, who concurrently serves as Uganda's minister for East African Affairs, stated that the cabinet is in the process of identifying and making the list of all products that will not be allowed in Uganda.

    “We have been too patient. In the past, we have not reciprocated, but now we are going to. This has gone on for too long and within a short time they too will understand what we are going through,” Kadaga warned.

    The decision has been interpreted as reciprocal to Kenya which for the longest time has been at loggerheads with Uganda over some goods.

    The current hostilities between the two East African Community partners started brewing in December 2019, when Kenya stopped importing Ugandan milk products. The milk brand had gained market popularity in the country with traders decrying huge losses due to the directive.

    But President Uhuru Kenyatta's administration did not stop at that. In July 2020, Ugandan sugar was outlawed from Kenya's market going against an agreement that had earlier been struck by the two nations,

    Then followed the ban of poultry products from Uganda; a ban that has lasted for nearly a year now.  Kenya, in its argument stated that some products from the neighbouring country were substandard.

    This ban could have a huge impact as the two countries mutually depend on each other for bilateral business. The restrictions go against a Customs Union Protocol established by the East African Community (EAC) single market.

    In July, Uganda chose Tanzania as its oil business partner ditching Kenya's port of Mombasa. The landlocked country initially accounted for three-quarters of Mombasa port’s transit cargo.

    Most of the fuel consumed in Uganda is trucked through Kenya via the Port of Mombasa which is the main distributor according to John Friday, the assistant commissioner for petroleum supplies.

    This went against a trade pact that was earlier reached between officials from Kenya and their Ugandan counterparts.

    A file image of impounded ethanol containers at the Kenya Ports Authority
    A file image of impounded ethanol containers at the Kenya Ports Authority
    FILE