Uhuru-Museveni talks signal hope for SRG plan, Migingo peace

Wednesday March 27 2019

Uhuru and Museveni

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni with Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta after their joint press conference at State House in Mombasa on March 27, 2019. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUOP 

DAILY NATION
By DAILY NATION
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Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda have renewed their efforts to promote trade and sustain peace between their two countries.

Addressing a joint press briefing at State House Mombasa on Wednesday, the Presidents noted their desire for joint cooperation on the standard gauge railway and said a team would review the plan.

Without giving details of the plan, President Museveni praised his counterpart on the rail transport initiative, saying it had prevented Uganda from suffering inconveniences.

Mr Museveni said the SGR solved Uganda’s “perennial problems of delays” at the Mombasa port, where cargo is concerned.

“Before Uhuru’s time, some people at the port thought they were doing Uganda some favour by clearing their cargo, not knowing they were sabotaging the economies of the two countries. But now we are celebrating the intervention by President Kenyatta,” he said.

“With reinforcement for inter-land economy, we are looking forward to the extension of the SGR. I know that once completed it will take 24 hours to Kampala," he said.

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Mr Museveni added that the two countries would also work to reduce their trade deficits through import substitution and export promotion "to stop enriching foreign countries".

Uganda is pushing for Kenya's commitment on the Kisumu-Malaba railway line so it can secure funding for its Kampala-Malaba line.

Mr Kenyatta said the SGR had evidently improved cargo transportation from Mombasa to Nairobi and that he was eying the joint development of the line to Uganda's capital, Kampala.

The two leaders will ride the SGR train from Mombasa to Nairobi on Thursday.

Pipeline

President Museveni also spoke of the gains of having an oil pipeline, saying it had reduced the time taken to transport the commodity.

“We want to leave the road for drunkards. In the coming years we will move from road to rail and fuel for the pipelines. It will be cheaper, faster and away from the roads,” he said.

Currently, refined oil is transported from Mombasa to Eldoret and then to Kisumu through pipelines by the Kenya Pipeline Company. KPC constructed a jetty in Kisumu, from where the commodity is shipped through Lake Victoria to a jetty in Entebbe, Uganda, and then transported to Kampala.

There is also the alternative of transportation in trucks from Eldoret to Kampala.

Migingo

The presidents, who held private talks for about three hours before addressing the press, said that on conflicts surrounding Migingo Island, they had agreed to form a formal commission to handle the longstanding border dispute.

“This commission will look not only into Migingo but also address challenges at other points. We also agreed to jointly explore water resources and ensure fishing is done in a sustainable manner,” said President Kenyatta.

Mr Kenyatta and Mr Museveni added that they were working on having more border points to allow the easy movement of their people.

“We need to increase the number of one-stop border points and that will allow easy access,” he said.

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