Azimio party leader Raila Odinga has attributed the tensions between President William Ruto and his East African counterparts to corruption and diplomatic gaffes made by Kenyan government leaders.
The former Prime Minister, on Tuesday, claimed that the East African Presidents, Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Samia Suluhu (Tanzania), Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) and Felix Tshisekedi (DRC) were wary of the increased diplomatic tiffs sparked by the Kenyan administration.
In a statement, he slammed Transport Cabinet Secretary, Kipchumba Murkomen for making inflammatory comments touching on Rwanda’s government, which he said was authoritarian and not as democratic as Kenya’s.
“We must tell Kenyans that our neighbours are not to blame for this negative development in our relationship. At the centre of the continuing damage of our relationship in EAC is the unbridled greed and corruption as practised by the Ruto government and the arrogance and foul mouth that has come with it,” Raila alleged.
A collage of President William Ruto, CS Kipchumba Murkomen and President Yoweri Museveni.
Kipchumba Murkomen/ Yoweri Museveni
He further claimed that East African leaders snubbed Kenya’s Jamhuri Day celebrations held on Tuesday, December 12. His remarks were contrary to Ruto’s, as the head of state claimed that he did not invite his counterparts to the national day event as is the norm.
“Unfortunately, since Kenya Kwanza came to power, matters have taken a turn for the worse. Kenyans realized that there is something terribly wrong with the relationship between us and our East African neighbours when we celebrated the significant milestone of 60 years since independence,” Raila countered Ruto and apologised to Rwanda.
“To our Rwandese brothers and sisters, we apologise for the sins of a regime intoxicated by power and corruption.”
In a joint interview with the media on Sunday, December 17, Ruto refuted reports alleging that his relationship with Museveni and other East Africa Community (EAC) presidents had not soured.
“Do I attend the national days of other countries? No, does that mean there is a problem? No. The relations between me and Museveni are perfect; the relationship between Kenya and Tanzania is perfect,” Ruto defended himself and his administration.
His remarks were made amid tensions brewing between Kenya and Uganda, with the latter ending its oil trade deal with the former. Uganda, which used to import oil via Kenyan middlemen, opted to purchase the commodity on its own to cut down on costs. However, it still needed a license to operate as an Oil Manufacturing Company in Kenya.
An application Uganda filed with Kenya’s Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) was rejected, escalating the tensions between the two nations. Raila hence claimed that Uganda resorted to seeking legal redress at Kenya’s High Court and further argued that the recent oil feud indicates a widening row between Ruto and Museveni.
“Uganda has been forced to go to the High Court in Kenya through its Uganda Petroleum Company to challenge a formula instigated by the Kenya Kwanza cartel that forces the sovereign state of Uganda to have its petroleum products transiting through Kenya to pay a “middleman” fee,” Raila stated.
“To waylay our land-locked neighbours who have used Kenya as their preferred route for import and export may hurt the neighbours now, but Kenya will pay the price in the long run. As a party, we are concerned and disturbed by the direction Kenya Kwanza regime is taking on the global stage. Our country will pay a steep price for this Kenya Kwanza recklessness,” he further warned.
From left: Presidents Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Samia Suluhu (Tanzania) and Yoweri Museveni (Uganda).