Chinese maze: Uganda’s procurement mess threatens regional rail project
Saturday July 13 2013
From left: Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Paul Kagame (Rwanda) and Yoweri Museveni after the trilateral talks in Entebbe, Uganda. Photo/PPS
Kampala is scrambling to work its way out of a maze of Chinese construction firms, all fighting for the lucrative tender to build a new railway network extending to the border with South Sudan and a new port on Lake Victoria.
At the centre of the bitter fight are four Chinese companies who have signed memoranda with different arms of government. The situation not only exposes Uganda to litigation, but could also result in a messy contest that could delay the project’s implementation.
Uganda must move with haste to resolve the controversies. A meeting of the national technical committees is scheduled to take place in Nairobi on July 22 to prepare a brief for the heads of state meeting in August.