For the last ten years, business persons who used the Northern Corridor have been waiting for compensation for the losses they incurred during the 2007-8 post-election violence in Kenya.
Most of the business people’s goods were caught in the thick of ethnic fighting following contested election results; their goods were looted and trucks set alight. Others were stuck at the port as they awaited for calm to return, meanwhile the customs bill continued to pile up.
The violence caught the whole region unawares, economies plummeted, fuel shortages began to bite and many countries were caught on the wrong footing- some have not managed to fully recover.
The port of Dar es salaam saved the day and countries learnt the bitter lesson of not putting all their eggs in one basket.
The Kenyan government had always been telling the people who suffered losses that it would compensate them, but nothing came. It had a bigger problem to deal with; tens of thousands of internally displaced families for whom it had not yet found a solution.
It should therefore be good news for 16 Ugandan and Rwandan business people that a Kenyan court has ordered the government to pay them $63 million for their losses. The traders’ original demand was $47 million, but because of the continued delays, Kenya has to cough up close to 50% more, a good lesson that time is money.
The traders also come away with a lesson of their own; insurance is there to cover risks, and most of them come unannounced. Even though the court ruling covers interest and inflationary issues, they should not be caught unprepared in future.