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Kadaga criticizes government’s slow response to Kenya’s ban on Uganda’s agric-products as legislators ask for retaliation

Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga has criticized the government’s slow response to Kenya’s banning of Uganda’s agricultural imports, in what many have since described as a trade war.

Kadaga on Tuesday afternoon during a plenary seating summoned the Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda to appear before Parliament with Uganda’s position on the matter.

During the session, Busia Municipality representative Geoffrey Macho and other legislators queried the usefulness of the East African integration pact to which Uganda is a signatory.

This follows the stranding of over Uganda’s 550 trucks at the Uganda – Kenya border after the latter banned the importation of the former’s Maize on allegations of poor quality. Kenya accuses Uganda of supplying maize tainted with cancer causing aflatoxins.

“The east African community is under attack by Kenya targeting Uganda’s maize exports,” said Geoffrey Macho, the Busia Municipality MP.

“It is now double jeopardy, we no longer have a market for the sugarcane, we no longer have the market for maize,” added Abdu Katuntu, the Bugweri County MP.

Kasambya member of Parliament, Mbwatekamwa Gafa also added his voice questioning the East African Community and its benefit to Uganda.

“I do not think this marriage of the East African integration is a good marriage. It is the worst marriage we are seeing because some few months back they banned our milk from accessing the Kenyan market and now they ban the maize,” he said before Bukwo Woman MP Evelyn Chemutai vowing not to sing the East African Anthem anymore.

“From today I don’t think I will be singing the east African anthem until this is sorted out”

A fleet of trucks carrying Uganda’s maize standed as seen at the Uganda-Kenya Border after a ban was imposed

Kenya has also put an embargo on the importation of Uganda’s chicken and eggs in what trade analysts believe is Nairobi’s attempts to shield local farmers against competition following the outbreak of Covid – 19.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga criticized what she called the government’s soft stance in handling the problem. Although Kenya issued the ban notice last Friday, Kampala is yet to make an official response leaving thousands of exporters stranded with merchandize.

Kadaga summoned the responsible ministries to issue a position before parliament.

“When will Uganda reciprocate. Why are we always being beaten and we keep on turning the other chic?”

“We need a position from the government, whether from Gen. Moses Ali the Deputy Prime minister or the minister of agriculture or the minister of trade to come here and tell us what to do because I think the government has really touched down by allowing Kenya to mistreat us.”

Some members of parliament challenged Kampala to respond with restrictions on imports from Kenya.  

Geoffrey Macho said Uganda also needs to react and impose bans on Kenyan products.

“Uganda Government should wish immediate effect ban the import of Kenya agriculture products like Irish potatoes from Kericho, Carrots, Ahero Rice and Mangoes because they use more toxic fertilizers than Uganda.”

This is not the first time Kenya is banning the importation of Ugandan products with the recent bans including Milk, Eggs, sugarcane among others. Kenya is Uganda’s main trading partner.

Economic pundits have questioned the protectionism policies practiced by Kenya and Tanzania which contravene principles of the Common Markets Protocol.

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