DP Ruto urges Museveni to free Kenyan trucks
Vice President William Ruto called on Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to release trucks belonging to Kenyan fish exporters.
The trucks were seized three weeks ago with fish valued at Sh 50 million (1.5 billion Ugandan shillings) in Kasese district.
According to traders, who transport fresh fish from Lake Turkana to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the shipment was confiscated by the Uganda Fisheries Protection Unit on October 3 at the Mpondwe border.
Speaking from Busia, Ruto urged President Museveni to release the trucks unconditionally.
“Regarding the fish confiscated in Uganda, I want to tell Museveni to free the trucks in the spirit of the East African Community and allow our traders to get the fish to their destination before they go. does not deteriorate. It is not bhang or illicit alcohol, but genuine products that Kenyan traders were carrying, ”said Ruto.
He said the fresh fish is highly perishable and if the deadlock persists traders will suffer huge losses.
“We cannot pretend that we are good neighbors when we (Kenya) play our part and allow Ugandan traders to do business freely in the country, but our traders are arrested and punished with punitive fines and their products are confiscated. across the border, ”Ruto said.
President Museveni and DP Ruto are friends. The vice president said Ugandan authorities were wrong to continue to hold the cargo and yet an agreement was reached for the trucks to be released after traders blocked the Busia border point last week.
Angry traders blocked the Busia One Stop border post in protest after the Uganda Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU) refused to release the seized trucks on the grounds that the fish that were being transported to the DRC had been stolen in Lake Kyoga.
Protesters had threatened to paralyze operations at the border post unless trucks and cargo were released by Ugandan authorities.
“The Ugandan army is a thorn in our flesh. They frequently arrest us for no good reason and take us to their courts where we are slapped with punitive fines. On this one, we are not going to give in until we release our fish unconditionally, ”said Yusuf Sefu, President of the Kenya Fish Traders Association.
“We closed this border at the request for the unconditional release of our trucks which were intercepted by the Ugandan army at the Mpondwe border post in Kasese”, explained Mr. Sefu.
He said the impounded fish had passed all required certifications from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).
“The fish came from Lake Turkana and not Lake Kyoga as it is claimed,” the official said. Sefu wondered why the Ugandan authorities were claiming the fish when they could easily establish the origin of the fish.
Calm was restored at the border post after Ugandan officials led by Busia Resident District Deputy Commissioner Mathew Tusubira recently met with their Kenyan counterparts led by Busia Kenya County Commissioner John Korir.
It was resolved that representatives of the two groups would meet and secure the release of the trucks, but this did not happen.
So far, the traders concerned have taken court action and sued the head of the Fisheries Protection Unit-FPU on Lake George and Edward Capt Musa Mugogo and Joyce Ikwaput Nyeko respectively,
They also sued the Acting Director of Fisheries Resource Management – Uganda and the Attorney General of the country they want charged with malicious damage to property and theft.