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Ruto makes amends with 'old buddy' Museveni during Nairobi visit

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The friendship was fading, and Kampala saw Ruto's affinity for taxation as a big impediment to regional integration and trade. Consequently, Uganda filed a case against Kenya at the Regional Court of Justice.

Kenyan President William Ruto received his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni, at Nairobi State House on Thursday, during his three-day state visit as the two countries look to renew a relationship that had deteriorated since president Ruto took over as the man in charge in September 2022.

The visit comes days after Kenya Pipeline signed an agreement with Uganda National Oil Company regarding importing petroleum products to Uganda.

In Nairobi, with both presidents in attendance, a tripartite agreement was signed between the Kenyan Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, their equal in Uganda, and Uganda National Oil Company Limited.

This deal aims to streamline trade between Nairobi and Kampala by removing existing bottlenecks.

Kampala, which saw Ruto as a 'friend', was irked when the former chicken seller, known for his staunch admiration of Museveni's NRM establishment in Uganda, sought to block Uganda's National Oil Company for any petroleum imports.

The friendship was fading, and Kampala saw Ruto's affinity for taxation as a big impediment to regional integration and trade. Consequently, Uganda filed a case against Kenya at the Regional Court of Justice.

Uganda, which imported Sh208 billion worth of petroleum products in 2022 through Kenya, mostly originating from the Gulf, decided to look to Tanzania when Nairobi refused to grant the required licence.

Ruto now asserts that all obstacles have been resolved following this meeting.

"The tripartite agreement on the importation and transit of refined petroleum products through Kenya to Uganda whose signing we have just witnessed enables the Uganda National Oil Company Limited to import refined petroleum commodities directly from producer jurisdictions thus bringing to an end the challenges faced by the sector in Uganda," Ruto declared.

He added, "We have agreed that all issues around rice, juice, furniture, eggs, chicken and sugar between Kenya and Uganda are now resolved."






President William Ruto hosts President Yoweri Museveni at State House Kenya on May 16, 2024. Photo; X/StatehouseUg

"Kenya and Uganda are firmly united by relations deeply rooted in shared history, culture and aspirations for peace and prosperity," he said.

Uganda is Kenya's largest trading partner, by value of exports, with earnings crossing the Sh100 billion mark for the first time.

Traders earned Sh127.24 billion from orders they trucked to the land-locked country on increased demand for cement clinkers.

Estimates for the country's exports indicate a 31.94 per cent increase from the previous year's Sh96.43 billion.

But Museveni emphasised that the agreements reached are rooted in historical missions that African nations have now solidified.

He expressed his reluctance to repeat what Ruto had already stated in the joint communique, choosing instead to focus on his hilarious historical and cultural lectures whenever he gets a platform.

"More than 60 years ago when we got independence, we did not integrate properly on the historical mission beyond reparations. There were talks that time about Uhuru na Umoja, but it was not deeply disassembled," he said.

He paused, "What did Uhuru na Umoja mean?", arguing that Africa has lost six decades and that's why there are more problems.

He vehemently championed a political federation in East Africa, which is a proposed political union of the eight sovereign states of the East African Community in the African Great Lakes region – Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Somalia and Uganda – as a single entity or government.

Even though Ruto also says a political federation is the ultimate goal of the EAC Regional integration, some of the bloc's member states haven't yet fully implemented the customs union and the common market.

In a customs union, member countries remove trade barriers among themselves and maintain common external tariffs.

"Uganda is part of Kenya, part of Tanzania and part of DRC but they are in the bedroom. You fellows here (Kenya) you are in the sitting room. Now to go out, we must knock and ask, can I come in the sitting room?" the Ugandan leader lamented about the East African Community restrictions.

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