East Africa to build two oil pipelines

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By Vision Reporter

June 26,2013 (NewVision)President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya Tuesday concluded their working visit after a busy day’s schedule during which they agreed to commit on a number of issues pertaining to infrastructure development, energy, trade facilitation and the East African Cooperation.

The leaders in who first held a tri-lateral closed meeting later held another meeting with their various delegations in which they committed themselves to revamping the old railway lines in Uganda and Kenya and new ones in Rwanda. They agreed to repair, upgrade and extend the railway lines in their respective countries.

On the issue of pipelines, the leaders agreed on two pipelines; one for finished products from Eldoret – Kampala to be extended to Rwanda and also have a reverse mechanism.

The second pipeline is for crude; to take out crude products from Uganda, South Sudan and Kenya to the port of Lamu. They would also explore a partnership in investing in a refinery in Uganda.

The leaders also committed on the issue of generating and distributing electricity, saying they are working around the clock to achieve this.

“It’s a very big shame if you see the kilowatts per capita of our countries. Even if we developed all the hydropower dams we still need more power, where will more power come from. For us we are already planning for nuclear energy. Currently we have found uranium. As long as an in the chair, nobody will touch the uranium in Uganda,” President Museveni who was the minute secretary for the three heads of state meeting said while presenting their report to the plenary.

He said the three heads of state also discussed one customs territory to collect taxes from ports like Mombasa in Kenya, Mpondwe in Uganda, Gisenyi in Rwanda etc.

This they said is aimed at strengthening the single customs territory and implement all the provisions therein where taxes will be collected at entry points.

The leaders also discussed the issue of a common visa for tourists and fast track the establishment of the EAC single tourist visas to facilitate the tourist industry in the region.

They said since the visas also have some money which can be shared using particular formulae; this is an issue they will pursue.

The leaders also discussed the issue of the EAC identity cards. President Museveni noted that Rwanda and Kenya are already ahead while Uganda is still wrangling. The leaders want Uganda to come on board and for immigration to accept EAC identity cards as if they are passports to ease the movement of persons and services.

The leaders also agreed on fast tracking the political integration and committed to putting accelerated energy in implementing it.

Using a local proverb which says when you commit suicide you don’t expect people to mourn for you, President Museveni said African countries were weak and that is why `everybody’ wants to trample on them.

“If you worship USA because of its strength, why not build up yourselves if that strength is important? We can even have a committee to draft the EA constitution as a wish document,” he said.

President Museveni reported that to work in the best way possible, they distributed responsibilities among themselves to handle each sector with Uganda chairing the railway development and political federation sector, Kenya chairing the oil pipeline development and electricity generation and distribution while Rwanda will chair the Customs, single tourist visa and EAC e-identity card sector.

“Mobilization of funds will be the responsibility of those who chair sector committees to spearhead the search for money. However it will be the responsibility for all of us to look for money but there must be a lead,” Museveni said.

President Kagame emphasized the issue of review meetings to ensure implementation.

To ensure follow up, the three leaders agreed to meet every after two months to review implementation and make reports with the first meeting in August in Nairobi and the second meeting in October in Kigali.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said the onus is now on the leaders to put together teams to get to work.

“The Political will is there but implementation is lacking. We should push this agenda and move from wishful thinking to implementation,” he said.

The three leaders and their delegations where later hosted to a state luncheon by the host President Museveni and later jointly addressed a press conference. During which Minister for Foreign Affairs Sam Kutesa re-emphasized issues discussed by the three leaders.

President Kagame was accompanied by the minister for EAC Monique Mukaruriza, the minister for Infrastructure Prof. Silas Rwakabamba and Maj. Gen. Frank Mugambage Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Uganda.

President Uhuru Kenyatta was accompanied by Amb. Amina C. Mohammed the Cabinent Secretary and minister of Foreign Affairs, Eng. Micheal Kamau, minister of Infrastructure and transport and Hassan Ali Joho the Governor of Mombasa County among others.

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