The post-election violence in Kenya is having devastating effects throughout East Africa as fuel shipments from Mombasa, the region’s largest port, ground to a halt.
Enter the Ugandan army.
Last night I recieved news that there were reports of Ugandan militia
in or around Nyanza Province and Western Province. I waited utill I got
confirmation from the ground. After several late night phone calls, I
did confirm that Ugandan Forces were indeed within Kenyan borders. Just
within the last hour Ugandan Army Spokesman, Major Felix Kulayigye,
confirmed the deployment of the troops on Tuesday, saying “it is to
forestall possible spill over of violence in Kenya”…
…So if we do have Ugandan militia in Nyanza province, many of you might
ask why? Well, here is a simple answer. Uganda is a landlocked country
that relies heavily on the political stability of Kenya for imports and
exports through the Mombasa Port on the Indian Ocean and is dependent
on the the safe passage of goods through Kenya.The political
instability has had devastating effects on Uganda’s economy. Uganda,
fuel prices have risen from USh2,400 (Sh100) to USh5,000 (Sh225). Most
oil importing companies have reported that they have not replenished
their stocks after their reservoirs dried up. So there is motive as to
why Uganda would get involved.
His Kenyan readers are not too happy.
The Monitor newspaper says Uganda was woefully unprepared:
[Energy Minister Daudi Migereko] had a hard time explaining to the media how the country
could suffer crippling scarcities almost immediately after the Kenyan
turmoil began, and why the nation’s reserves could not even last days.
Both the Monitor and New Vision report price gouging and long lines at the few stations in Kampala that haven’t run out of petrol. The Ugandans are trying to redirect shipments through Dar-es-Salaam
(Tanzania), but are facing major logistical problems, i.e., ships to carry fuel across Lake Victoria. Moreover,
because of the higher
transport costs associated with that route, importing via Dar would not normalize prices.
Continuing west, government officials say Rwanda, which (surprise surprise) still has several days of reserves, may be facing its own crisis unless it can start importing fuel again.
I can’t imagine what the situation must be like in Eastern Congo.
There’s been a lot of coverage of Western pressure on Kibaki (well, minus the Americans of course, who found in him a staunch "War on Terror" ally). But I imagine that today, it’s Museveni and Kagame who are really giving him hell.