Ruto Woos Uganda in Multi-Million Mombasa Port Deal After Museveni Rant

President William Ruto meets President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda in Uganda's State House on April 27, 2023.
President William Ruto (right) meets President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda in Uganda's State House on April 27, 2023.

President William Ruto's administration, on Monday, June 5, sent delegates to convince Uganda that Kenya was fast-tracking the clearing of goods landing at the Port of Mombasa.

In a closed-door meeting, Kenya Ports of Authority Managing Director Captain William Ruto pitched the new strategies to Ugandan Consul General Paul Mukumbya. Among them was streamlining services along the logistics chain to enhance efficiency and the movement of Ugandan goods. 

Captain Ruto also promised the Uganda ambassador that Kenya was working towards reducing business costs in the Northern Corridor, a multimodal transport network with roads, railways and pipelines.

The Northern Corridor is critical for transport and trade in East Africa, running from the Port of Mombasa, through Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, and Ethiopia.

A photo of containers stacked at Mombasa Port.
A photo of containers stacked at Mombasa Port.
The Maritime Port of Mombasa

Besides reducing business costs, Kenya convinced Uganda that it had embraced technology to manage its billings. According to Captain Ruto, technology is key to providing Uganda with timely and accurate services.

President William Ruto's administration vowed to enhance cargo processing and incorporate tracking services through platforms such as eCitizen to prevent loss of goods and delay in releasing consignments.

"KPA in collaboration with the government is also working to remove some of the non-tariff barriers that stifle competitiveness of the northern corridor, which is one of the major arteries to the east and Central African region," Captain Ruto assured Uganda.

A report from the Port of Mombasa established that Uganda was the leading user of the Port of Mombasa, collecting more than Ksh160 billion from the trade.

Uganda imports various goods through the Port of Mombasa, including fuel, construction materials, machinery, agricultural products and consumer goods.

From 2018, Uganda accounted for over a quarter of the business at the Port of Mombasa. In 2018 alone, the transit goods hit 9.6 million tonnes.

Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen ordered reopening of the clearing point at Malaba, Busia, to enhance trade between Kenya and Uganda

"Also, the Ministry will be exploring the best financing options to construct the Ksh640 million Outbound Lane at the One-Stop Border Post to enable the seamless movement of trucks," Murkomen directed. 

Kenyan delegates' visit to Uganda came days after President Museveni threatened to import Kenyans accused of invading grazing fields in the East African country. 

"Long ago, I ordered these Turkanas never to bring guns into Uganda. They should just come and graze their cattle, minus being armed.

"They, however, did not listen to this. Instead, they raided our disarmed Karimonjong, killed people, raped them, etc. They are said to have raided 2245 cattle from the Jie. They killed our 3 (three), Geologists, 1 (one) Officer and a soldier, that were guarding them. I now direct that this Turkana nonsense must stop," he stated.

Foreign affairs experts warned that the tirade may spark a diplomatic tiff between Kenya and Uganda, despite Ruto and Museveni enjoying a cordial relationship. 

William Ruto and Yoweri Museveni
A photo collage of President William Ruto (Left) and Ugandan Head of State Yoweri Museveni (Right) during a phone call on June 2, 2020.
/President Yoweri Museveni



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