Ugandan and Rwandan business people who lost their merchandise and trucks during the 2007/08 post-election violence in Kenya are now threatening to boycott the standard gauge railway if they are not compensated.
Last year, the Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Railways ordered the clearance and loading of transit goods destined for Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, Uganda, and South Sudan to be done at the new Mai Mahiu container depot in Nakuru County. This was previously done at the port of Mombasa.
The 16 traders have said that should the Kenya government not honour the $127 million compensation they had been awarded progressively by Kenyan courts since 2018, they will consider boycotting the use of the port of Mombasa.
In a letter written on their behalf by Issa Sekito, the chair of Kampala City Traders Association—who went to court in 2009—and addressed to the Kenya’s Attorney-General Paul Kariuki, the traders say they could divert their transit imports and exports to Dar es Salaam.
Judith Guserwa, the traders’ lawyer, said the Kenya government has been delaying payment even after the claimants said they were willing to forego the interest.
Court of Appeal of Kenya president Justice William Ouko is yet to appoint judges to preside over the case. This could be further delayed as the judiciary has suspended most of its activities because of the coronavirus outbreak.
In a Memorandum of Appeal, the Attorney-General asked for the 2009 judgment to be set aside and the case dismissed with costs because the judge had erred by holding the Kenya government liable for failing in its obligation to provide security to the traders when there was evidence to the contrary.
The traders include Kampala City Traders Association, Intraspeed Logistics and Mugenga Holdings, who said 22 heavy duty trucks were destroyed in the chaos.