•In talks with Tanzania over 4m litres of fuel
•Says Kenya crisis needs internal solution
•Rwandan embassy in Nairobi tries to secure consumer goods
•Fuel prices and fares still unchanged
In a bid to contain possible fuel shortages , the government has issued strict rationing regulations to all filling stations in the country.
Fears of fuel shortages have been fuelled by continued deadly riots in Kenya following last Thursday’s disputed presidential election which gave incumbent President Mwai Kibaki, a second five-year term. Kibaki’s main rival Raila Odinga claims there was massive poll rigging.
In a communiqué to all petrol stations, the Ministry of Commerce directed that small vehicles (saloon cars) will be limited to ten litres a day while pick-ups and 4x4s will get twenty litres.
Commuter taxis which operate in the city centre will be allocated ten litres of fuel for each round trip.
The statement explained: ‘For up-country commuter taxis and heavy trucks, they will consume adequate fuel for their respective trips.’ However pump prices have not increased because they are largely determined by the government, instead of demand and supply forces.
The prices remain at Frw684 per litre of petrol and Diesel is Frw677 per litre. Fares have also not officially hiked.
The government also said that as long as the Kenya crisis continues, all filling stations will operate from six o’clock in the morning to nine o’clock in the evening.
All filling stations have also been strictly warned against serving fuel in jerrycans for fear of causing accidents.
The Minister of Commerce Protais Mitali told The New Times that the measures are aimed at avoiding black market and speculation by petrol station owners.
“There should not be long queues at night because there is no cause for alarm. We want to prevent speculations which had already started,” Mitali said.
He added that in the meantime the government is negotiating with Tanzanian authorities to facilitate supplies of four million litres of fuel as alternative means.
He said that the Dar es Salaam port will be used for the first delivery of fuel next week.
Mitali explained: “There should not be panic. There are adequate fuel reserves to take the country through the crisis, but contacts are currently on to have the first delivery of four million litres of fuel to be on standby.
It is from then that other deliveries will continue depending on the crisis in Kenya.”
Kenya is the main route for fuel supplies and other imports as well as exports to and from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, eastern DR Congo and Southern Sudan.
Mitali further said that government is working with the Rwandan embassy in Kenya to verify the quantity of goods belonging to Rwandan traders held up so as to provide escorts through the Uganda – Kenya border posts to Rwanda.
The State Minister for Cooperation, Rosemary Museminari, said that the government was also in contacts with Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and other Kenyan organisations to facilitate the transportation of goods that are destined for Rwanda.
She said that 50 percent of Rwandan consumer goods come from Kenya.
Meanwhile, Museminari said that Rwanda was keenly observing the violence in the sister East Africa Community (EAC) nation, arguing that it was an internal problem that needs a solution from Kenyans themselves.
“Anything we can do to help would be in under the EAC framework. Should anybody appeal to us for help in that aspect, we shall certainly help,” she said.
EAC Chairman Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has already talked to both Kibaki and Odinga, and asked what the regional grouping could do to ease the chaotic situation, which has caused the death of over 300 civilians.
Meanwhile, violence continued yesterday as Kenyan police fired tear gas and water canons to disperse supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Security forces also surrounded Uhuru (Freedom) Park and blocked access to strategic points to Nairobi centre where opposition supporters had planned to stage a massive protest rally.
The police intervention prompted the opposition leaders to call off the protests yesterday, but vowed to stage the protests today.