The Uganda government has asked Kenyans to respect the principles of the common market protocol and maintain peace during the election period to avoid disrupting the East African trade corridor.
The First Deputy Prime Minister, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, told journalists at her office in Kampala yesterday that peace must be maintained to allow free movement of the people and goods as required by the protocol.
“The common market protocol calls for freedom of movement of capital, goods, services and people. We appeal to the people of Kenya to maintain peace so that the movement within the trade corridor is not disrupted,” Ms Kadaga said.
The East Africa Community partner states entered into a Common Market Protocol (CMP) in November 2009 to widen and deepen cooperation in the economic and social fields among the partner states.
This was achieved through removal of restrictions on the movement of goods, persons, labour, services and capital, and the rights of establishment and residence.
Ms Kadaga, who is also the Minister for the East African Community Affairs, said promoting peaceful elections in Kenya was emphasised during the EAC Council of Ministers meeting.
The Council of Ministers is the central decision-making and governing organ of the EAC and it constitutes ministers or cabinet secretaries from the partner states responsible for regional cooperation.
“We bid farewell to those who may not go through and also called upon the people of Kenya to have peaceful elections and ensure that the corridor remains operational during and after elections,” Ms Kadaga said.
Kenya held its general elections yesterday, where they elected their president, members of the National Assembly and Senate, county governors of Kenya and members of the 47 county assemblies.
Although four candidates were vying for the country’s top most job, the race is between Mr Raila Odinga and deputy President William Ruto.
During the same press conference, Ms Kadaga announced that government had drafted a 10-year plan to conserve the environment and minimise the effects of climate change such as the recent floods that claimed about 29 lives in Mbale District.
She said the plan will be implemented in phases and will involve sensitising communities on environment conservation, evicting people from wetlands, cancel land titles obtained in lakeshores, wetlands, forest reserves in addition to massive tree planting campaigns.
“She also commended the East Africa Cycling Safari (GACs) for marketing the East African Community.
Speaking at the same function, the director of GACs, Mr John Bosco, said about 200 cyclists were flagged off from Mombasa in Kenya on August 1 to traverse East Africa as they market the region.
The thematic areas of a 6,000 kilometres expedition that will take 55 days includes promotion of the EAC integration agenda, trade and tourism, and responding to the challenges of climate change.
The cyclists are anticipated to arrive at Katuna border on September 8 and a grand entry into Kampala will take place on September 17.
Expedition will also see cyclists plant about 200,000 trees in selected areas in the region.
Ms Elizabeth Mwerinde Kasedde, the executive director of public sector and social investments at Equity Bank, said tree planting was key and that the bank would plant 37 million trees as they celebrate their 37th anniversary.
Impact of 2007 Kenya election
Being a landlocked country, the impact of the election affects Uganda.During the aftermath of the 2007 Kenyan election, that was marred with violence, business in the East African region came to a standstill with a number of Ugandans losing their merchandise.
The violence also caused a shortage of petroleum in Uganda, causing fuel prices to shoot up. Uganda relies on Mombasa Port for importation and exportation of goods. Economists urge that the northern corridor is shorter and less costly compared to ferrying goods through Dar-es-Salaam.