Kenya, Uganda Face New Diplomatic Crisis After Letter By Ugandans

Traders at Nakasero market in Kampala, Uganda
Traders at Nakasero market in Kampala, Uganda
Courtesy Culture Trip

Kenya and Uganda are headed for another diplomatic standoff after a letter authored by Ugandan farmers over new policies by Nairobi surfaced.

Speaking in an interview, the chairperson of the Poultry Association of Uganda (PAU), Aga Sekalala Junior, protested that Kenya had imposed policies that are hurting their businesses.

The poultry farmers have been rattled by a new tax imposed on egg imports from Ugandan by Kenyan authorities. 

Poultry in battery cages in Kenya
Poultry in battery cages in Kenya

In a letter addressed to Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA), the farmers urged the government to engage the Kenyan government on the matter.

President Uhuru Kenyatta's government has imposed a 25 per cent Excise Duty on imported eggs, in addition to delayed approval of import permits, which Ugandan farmers are unhappy about.

“Kenya is directly discouraging trade with Uganda by imposing this duty. Because of this, the price of eggs has also stagnated and most of our farmers are struggling to survive in the market,”  PAU's letter to UMA read.

Sekalala Junior argued that the levy was a barrier that goes against the East Africa Community protocols.

“The EAC protocols say there shouldn’t be any tax. It is inappropriate and we are not happy about it. The market is supposed to be open,” he stated.

He further accused Kenya of creating new policies without good judgement "depending on their mood of the season".

The chairperson of Uganda National Cross Border Traders, Godfrey Oundo Ogwabe, weighed in on the matter and told the press in Uganda that the policy on eggs had continued despite a court ruling.

Ogwabe opined that the levy was a bad policy and in violation of the East African Community policy of free movement of goods and services originating from member states.

The Commissioner of External Trade at the Uganda Trade Ministry, Emmanuel Mutahunga, stated that they had not received any official communication from Kenya and as far as they are concerned nothing has changed from December 2021 agreement.

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

“Normally non-tariff barriers are investigated following complaints from whether it is really happening,” he said, urging traders to share documents indicating that they are being charged this tax.

“If they (traders) are paying the tax, they should bring the documents. It will be taken from there. Otherwise, this remains hearsay,” Mutahunga stated.