Mwai Kibaki orders compensation for traders affected by violence
Rwandan and Ugandan traders claiming for compensation for goods lost during the 2007/2008 Kenyan post election violence can finally put a smile on their faces after Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki instructed his Ministry of Finance to reimburse the traders.
Thirteen claimants, 12 from Uganda and one from Rwanda are demanding more than $47.5 million following goods they lost in the violence.
The violence began after clashes between supporters of then rival presidential candidates – Raila Odinga, the current Prime Minister, and Kibaki, the incumbent–in which more than 1,200 people were killed and 600,000 more displaced in weeks of unrest.
The business communities from Uganda and Rwanda through the East African Business Council (EABC) championed the negotiations with the Kenyan government.
“The Kenyan government has approved the money after the President instructed the officials in charge and it is just a matter of procedure before they get paid,” announced Lilian Awinja, an official from EABC.
“We are now pushing the Ministry of Finance in Kenya and I am sure the compensation will be issued”.
In an interview, a claimant who preferred anonymity noted that though the compensation had been promised, the Kenyan government was taking too long evidently irking the claimants.
“The President issued the directive on compensation within two weeks but its now taking months. When will they live up to this? They said they would settle it in the spirit of EAC. What we need is our compensation.”
In a previous interview, Faustin Mbundu, the Chairman of Rwanda Private Sector Federation (PSF) told The New Times he was optimist about the payment.
“We have seen positive response from Kenya. They are willing to compensate traders from member states for losses they incurred during the riots,” he said in a telephone interview. Mbundu said negotiations between Kenya and EABC—the umbrella organ of the private sector in the region—is ongoing and is expected to yield success and see the traders compensated.
Rwanda mainly relies on Kenya’s port of Mombasa to ship its exports and imports through the Northern Corridor.
The corridor also serves Uganda, Northern Tanzania, DR Congo and South Sudan, which reflects Kenya’s major role in regional trade.
Contact email: eric.kabeera[at]newtimes.co.rw