Presidents William Ruto and Yoweri Museveni are scheduled to meet in an effort to resolve the ongoing fuel import dispute that led Kampala to take Nairobi to the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) . The dispute stems from Kenya’s rejection of Uganda’s request to utilize its pipeline for transporting fuel from the port of Mombasa to Kampala, citing potential impact on local oil marketing companies.
Confirming the diplomatic initiative, East African Community and Regional Development Cabinet Secretary Peninah Malonza emphasized that the scheduled meeting aims to mend fences and discuss Kenya’s position on the matter. The dispute has raised tensions, prompting Uganda to file a case against Kenya at the EACJ, seeking approval to use the pipeline.
Malonza downplayed the disagreement, stating that each East African Community (EAC) member state is entitled to pursue its trade interests based on democratic principles. She assured the public that trade disagreements are normal and are addressed through diplomatic channels.
While the date and venue of the meeting were not disclosed, the CS mentioned that Kenya would explain its position during the upcoming East Africa Community Heads of States Summit. Malonza commended President Museveni for engaging with Kenyan authorities on trade matters, acknowledging Uganda as Kenya’s largest trading partner and the primary market for Kenyan oil.
EAC Secretary-General Peter Mathuki urged member states to focus on peaceful dispute resolution and adhere to the treaty’s spirit, emphasizing people-centered integration. Mathuki called for restraint and encouraged the use of existing EAC Dispute Resolution Mechanisms to preserve the integrity and sovereignty of each state.
The case filed against Kenya at the Arusha Regional Court by Uganda underscores strained relations between Presidents Museveni and Ruto. Uganda’s frustration over the denial of an import route prompted the legal action, challenging Kenya’s compliance with the EAC Treaty and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.