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.
Joseph Karoki writes that Ugandan troops have entered Nyanza Province in Western Kenya to help secure safe passage of oil trucks bound for Kampala:
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.
January 02, 2008 in Conflict, Democracy & Elections, Kenya, Natural Resources, Oil, Rwanda, Uganda | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) Media Blackout in Kenya / Kenyan Pundit Blocked
Happy New Year everyone. I'm just helping Ory spread the word about the media blackout in Kenya following what at list one diplomat described as a rigged election. The censorship has now spread to the internet, with cyber-activists like Ory, who blogs at www.kenyanpundit.com, being shut down. Visit Kenyan Pundit to learn what you may not be reading in the international news. Readers have been SMS-ing first-hand information/rumors about more shootings of protesters. If you are a foreign journalist, or know a journalist, in East Africa, consider covering this angle of the story. Ory is also behind the mzalendo project. Read more Kenyan blogs at the Kenya Unlimited's blog aggregator and see Ndesanjo's roundup of Kenyan bloggers, "Is Kenya turning into a police state?" over at Global Voices.
Update: Kenyan Emergency/A Political Mugging in God's Own Country is doing a great job of centralizing information on this story.
As some of you might know I've been pretty much the only source of credible information about the election situation in Kenya over the last fews, and more especially since a media blackout was imposed by the government (no live broadcasts, no news, nothing!) - the country is on fire and we have no idea what the government is doing to clamp protests down and how many people have been killed. After the blackout, blogs and sms's have been pretty much the only source of information for Kenyans both in Kenya and outside Kenya. Late night I asked my readers to send me whatever information /news they have in the comment section so that we could keep the news flowing. When I woke up this morning to moderate comments and write a post I was unable to do any admin on Kenyan Pundit (see attached screenshot and note the swiftkenya details even though I'm hosted in the states).
I never thought I would ever witness this in Kenya and be the subject of censorship - in fact every time I spoke about blogging in Kenya I was proud of the fact that the government has stayed away from bloggers. Now I have been shut down (well they think they can shut me down).
Kenya is now officially under a police state and I'm not sure how much coverage this is getting internationally, and I'm not sure how long it will last.
Please spread the word internationally and take up our cause as Kenyan bloggers and citizens - I refuse to be cowered by fear and intimidation.
Hopefully internet and mobile access won't be next.