Kenyan President William Ruto and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni are scheduled to meet and address the ongoing fuel import dispute that prompted Kampala to take Nairobi to the East African Court of Justice (EACJ). The disagreement arose when Kenya rejected Uganda’s request to use its pipeline to transport fuel from the port of Mombasa directly to Kampala, citing potential impacts on local oil marketing companies.
East African Community and Regional Development Cabinet Secretary Peninah Malonza confirmed the planned meeting, emphasizing diplomatic efforts to mend fences. Malonza stated that trade disagreements among EAC member states are normal, with each nation pursuing its trade interests based on its democratic principles.
The meeting aims to discuss the impasse, with Kenya expected to explain its position during the next East African Community Heads of States Summit. The specific date and venue for the high-level meeting have not been disclosed.
Malonza praised President Museveni for actively engaging Kenyan authorities on trade matters, emphasizing Uganda’s significance as Kenya’s largest trading partner and the largest market for Kenyan oil. Uganda purchases 90% of its oil from Kenya, making it a crucial economic partner.
EAC Secretary-General Peter Mathuki called for a peaceful resolution of disputes among partner states, highlighting the importance of adhering to the spirit of the treaty and fostering harmonious cooperation. Mathuki urged member states to use the existing EAC Dispute Resolution Mechanism while respecting the integrity and sovereignty of each state.
The ongoing case at the EACJ reflects the strained relations between President Museveni and President Ruto. Uganda filed the case against Kenya, seeking to compel the use of the pipeline and expressing frustration over the denial of an import route. Kenya, in turn, has court injunctions blocking approval and has cited specific requirements for licensing, leading to accusations of violating the EAC Treaty and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.