A disagreement over oil is causing problems between Uganda and Kenya. Uganda is unhappy because it wasn’t told about talks between Kenya and two Gulf nations about a fuel deal. This has made their trade and diplomatic relations chilly, questioning the friendship between Uganda’s leader, Yoweri Museveni, and Kenya’s William Ruto.
The Kenyan High Court will soon decide if Uganda should be allowed to use the Kenyan oil pipeline, which could either solve or make worse the argument between Nairobi and Kampala about fuel imports.
This oil dispute is part of several trade disagreements, pushing Uganda to consider business with Tanzania. Recently, three companies filed a petition to stop Kenya from giving Uganda the right to import oil through Kenya.
Uganda is also talking to Tanzania about importing oil due to disappointment with the way Kenya handles oil prices. Kenyan officials say they haven’t received any official information from Uganda about ending their current oil supply arrangement.
President Museveni is upset because he thinks President Ruto should have talked to him before making deals with Gulf nations. Uganda gets 90% of its oil from Kenya, and this argument may affect their trade and the money Kenya makes from selling oil to other countries.
The dispute is not new; they had disagreements about poultry and milk in 2019. Now, the latest argument over oil might strain the relationship between the two leaders, who were once close friends.
President Ruto has been making new friends and visiting other countries, which seems to have changed his relationship with Uganda. Uganda is even trying to pass a law to let its national oil company handle oil imports.
If the issue is not resolved, it could lead to a bigger separation between the two East African leaders and more business going to Tanzania instead of Kenya.