Presidents Kenyatta, Museveni reaffirm Kenya-Uganda trade ties
President Uhuru Kenyatta has reaffirmed Kenya’s position in ensuring that trade relations between Kenya and Uganda remain firm and that the two countries should work together.
Speaking at State House, Mombasa on Wednesday during a press conference with Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni said the cooperation between the two neighbours is paramount in the growing the region’s economy.
Mr. Kenyatta pointed out the joint mega Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project saying the plan, which has had hiccups along the way, is still on course.
“Once again we invite Uganda to join us in the joint continued development of the SGR to ensure that the line continues all the way to Kampala as was originally envisioned” said President Kenyatta.
This comes amid reports last year that Uganda had reportedly put on hold the construction of the railway over unresolved issues.
Museveni commended the efficient handling of cargo at the Mombasa port saying Uganda was being frustrated by previous regimes.
“Before President Uhuru’s time, some of the people at the port said they were doing Uganda a favour by handling our goods and so we had to come and beg them,” he added.
The Ugandan Head of State stressed on the need to fasten movement of goods between the two countries.
“When the SGR is finished, it will take 24 hours from here to Kampala… This should have been done before and there’s no other way these countries’ economies are going to grow if we don’t solve this issue of movement,” said Museveni.
“In the coming years, a lot of cargo will move from the roads to the railways and fuel will move from the roads to the pipelines and across the lake to the tugboats… it will be cheaper, faster, safer and away from the roads.”
There was a light moment when Museveni said moving goods will leave the roads free for the drunkard motorists.
“…so that the roads remain for the drunkards and other people, if they want to kill themselves without the addition of oil tankers and cargo,” he said.
Museveni, who is expected to use the SGR on Thursday from Mombasa to Nairobi, will be the first foreign head of state to use the rail service.
On the controversial issue of Migingo island that is Uganda and Kenya both claim to be on their side of the border, the two leaders said they have established a formal border commission to look into the issue.
“The ministers have agreed to put together a formal border commission to look not just at Migingo but the entire length of our boundary with a view of concluding it within the shortest possible time,” said President Kenyatta.
“We have also agreed on how to develop the resources of the lake together and ensure that our fishing is done in a sustainable manner.”