Museveni’s “Pan Africanism” on display in Kenya

“I thank President Uhuru Kenyatta for inviting me on this visit. I must commend him for his Pan-African credentials and working tirelessly towards easing trade between Kenya and Uganda…The other sectors in Uganda that should benefit from these agreements are our diary producers who will have less paperwork to do in order to export to Kenya. Our tile makers also should look forward to accessing the Kenyan market. IN RETURN, Uganda will immediately lift the ban on beef imports from Kenya, since the mad cow disease that occasioned the ban is no more.”

President Museveni is fond of exposing himself. Of late he has been doing a lot of it in seemingly unprovoked ways. One does not need to go far back for evidence of this. His recent letter to President Kagame has a lot of unprovoked revelations the kind of which I’m referring to.

His speech in Kenya has similar revelations. Consider this statement, “our tile makers should also look forward to accessing the Kenyan market. In return, Uganda will immediately lift the ban on beef imports from Kenya.”

Is it not obvious to everyone that the ban on beef imports from Kenya to Uganda was on pretext of the Mad Cow disease?

If, in fact, Uganda’s ban on Kenyan beef was on the basis of the Mad Cow disease, then lifting that ban would be on the day that is scientifically determined rather than on President Museveni’s arbitrary determination to end it.

This is why Museveni is lifting the ban “in return” for something that Kenya must do. In other words, he was holding Kenyan goods (beef) hostage until that condition was met.

Even if one were to give Museveni the benefit of doubt that the ban on Kenyan beef may have had something to do with the Mad Cow disease at some point, his own revelation shows that the ban continued even after that threat had ended, and that he did this for selfish reasons.

Museveni then makes another revelation, “our diary producers who will have less paperwork to do in order to export to Kenya.”

Coincidentally, Museveni has been frustrating trade in diary between Rwanda and Uganda. On 14 August 2017, when three sealed tankers carrying 78,000 litres of pasteurized milk from Inyange Industries in Rwanda to Brookside Diary in Kenya were intercepted in Uganda.

The tankers were later released, but the milk had already gone bad. There was absolutely no reason, going by free trade laws, for the Ugandans to have impeded that milk.

These are clear examples of Uganda’s lawlessness and how it is affecting not only Rwanda, but neighbours like Kenya. Kenya’s Brookside Diary had invested in Rwanda and was ready to do commerce; the very thing that the EAC itself was set up to do. That was undone by the Museveni regime’s pettiness, and lawless nature. 

By July 2018, milk exports from Rwanda were completely hamstrung by constraints imposed by the Ugandan Diary Development Authority, and stopped altogether.

Is it accidental that Museveni’s ban is in the beef and dairy industry? Museveni and his close family have invested heavily in this sector. Museveni openly brags about the surplus milk from his farms that are scattered across the country.

The entire industry – the cattle and their by-products such as beef and leather – is of interest to this family. In other words, neither is Museveni interrupting trade in a protectionist stance to benefit Ugandans. It is about him and his close family.

Museveni is also guilty of imposing tariffs on Kenyan cigarettes, ruled the East African Court on Justice on March 26, 2019. The court ruled: “Uganda’s excise duty imposed over goods imported within East Africa is a violation of the Treaty.”

It noted that Uganda Revenue Authority was illegally “requiring the BAT (British American Tobacco) to pay excise duty for its cigarettes manufactured in Kenya and imported to Uganda.”

Why is Uganda blocking tobacco manufactured in Kenya from entering its territory?

Tribert Ayabatwa Rujugiro, the chief financial of Kayumba Nyamwasa’s Rwanda National Congress (RNC) has established a tobacco plant in Uganda.

Museveni’s young brother Salim Saleh is a stakeholder in Rujugiro’s tobacco business.

Talk about Pan African credentials!