Regional body wants traders compensated for Kenya loss

The east African Business Council (EABC) has called on the Kenyan government to speed up the process to compensate regional traders, who lost their goods during the 2007/2008 post-election violence.

The east African Business Council (EABC) has called on the Kenyan government to speed up the process to compensate regional traders, who lost their goods during the 2007/2008 post-election violence.

EABC is the regional body that advocates for the private sector.

Thirteen claimants from Uganda and Rwanda are demanding more than $47.5m (about Rwf30b) for the goods they lost in the violence. The outgoing president Mwai Kibaki had directed for the compensation to no avail.

The EABC Executive Director Andrew Luzze, in an interview with The New Times at the weekend in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, expressed disappointment for the failure of the Kenyan government to compensate for the damages.

“It’s not in the spirit of integration; traders should be compensated. There were some delays, but with a new government, we shall continue pushing for it to ensure that traders are compensated,” Luzze said.

The violence began after clashes between supporters of then rival presidential candidates—Raila Odinga, and Mwai Kibaki—in which more than 1,300 people were killed in weeks of unrest.

The EACB boss said the Nairobi government has already showed interest, adding that he was optimistic about the compensation.

However, Sebagala Kigozi, the executive director of Uganda Manufactures Association, said Kenya has not demonstrated any positive signs to pay the traders.

He said though the outgoing Kenyan leader had directed that the claimants be paid existing bureaucracy will not allow the traders to obtain their money.

“We have lost hope. We don’t think Kenya will compensate our traders,” Kigozi said.

Millions of dollars in goods and trucks were either burnt or stolen in one of the most violent political tones to hit East Africa in recent times. 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.

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