Museveni Directive on Kenyan Border Causes Fuel Hike in Uganda

Photo collage between Uganda's President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and a car being refilled at a petrol station
Photo collage between Uganda's President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and a car being refilled at a petrol station

Uganda is facing a shortage in fuel after truck drivers ferrying petroleum products went on strike at the Kenyan border.

The drivers declined to pay Ksh3,000 to undertake mandatory tests at the border as directed by Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni. 

Motorists in the neighbouring country were thus forced to purchase fuel at a higher cost after the prices skyrocketed.  

Officials from the Ministry of Energy noted that some petrol stations were selling fuel at  Most stations that still have fuel were reported to be selling the product over UShs5,000 (Ksh160) per litre. 

An image of Malaba Traffic Jam
Trucks lined up waiting for clearance at the Malaba border post.

This price is almost three times the price of fuel in Kenya with the latest figure standing at Ksh129.72 per litre of super petrol in Nairobi.

Local media reports also indicated that other petrol stations had totally run out of fuel after trucks used by Uganda's Oil Marketing Companies got stuck at traffic snarl-up at the border. 

Ugandan government officials promised to ensure that the border point is cleared to allow the free flow of trucks transporting fuel.

“And once cleared in a few days, supply and prices will rerun to normal, and there is no need for the public to panic,” Uganda’s Ministry of Energy said on Saturday, January 15. 

"The cases of scarcity in districts such as Hoima will be addressed shortly with the ongoing replenishment. The government is doing everything possible to prioritize the handling of Petroleum Products at the borders to ensure build-up in-stock levels in the country,” the ministry added. 

It acknowledged that the shortage was necessitated by Museveni's directive affecting the Malaba and Busia border points. 

However, traders were further blamed for hoarding fuel and hiking prices out of selfish interests. 

“Following the failure to maintain replenishment of stocks and where trucks had spent 10 days in the queue, the turnaround time was affected and reduced stocks for petroleum products in the country. 

“Speculators hoarding petroleum products and leading to an unnecessary hike in fuel prices are advised to desist from this bad practice. The price of petrol in the country should not exceed UShs5,000 (Ksh160) per litre."

Museveni intervention to reduce congestion at the border has done but little to solve the crisis. Following the strike, Museveni's government listed more health facilities and testing laboratories across the region where the drivers drawn from Kenya and other East African regions were set to undergo tests. 

Henry Mwebesa, Uganda’s Director General of Health Services, stated in a letter dated January 6, that the decision was arrived at after an inter-ministerial meeting chaired by Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja.

A photo of a petrol attendant fueling a car on February 2020.