Traders in hinterland Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo are on tenterhooks as a possibility of a violent election period in Kenya leaves them with no choice but to abandon the much used Mombasa port to avoid losing their goods in transit, as was the case in 2007.
Chaotic post election violence left Kenyan and non-Kenyan traders nursing losses after rioters destroyed and stole their goods in transit. The riots left thousands dead and close to one million people nursing physical and emotional wounds. Countries inside the great lakes region use Mombasa port as the entry for their imports especially raw material for the manufacturers and also as an outlet to reach world markets to sell their exports through the Indian Ocean gateway.
A destabilized Kenya means loss of goods, property, life and no work for the traders. In Uganda after a strategic meeting the Minister For Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Amelia Kyambadde echoing the fears of the business community asked them to stay away from the Mombasa route and make use of Dar es Salaam to avoid a repeat of the 2007 catastrophe.
The traders are heeding to the call and have already diverted their imports to Dar, but the cost of transport and lost time taken to deliver goods to Kampala is pinching their pockets.
In an interview with Mr. Stuart Mwesigwa the Business Development Manager of Roofings Limited, they (traders) have talked to their clearing agents to explore the Tanzanian route.
“We increased on our orders and we are exploring the use of the alternative route of Dar. The only problem is the distance and it’s not well developed, we are used to the Mombasa route, but I think this should be an alternative route which should be permanently used,” Mwesigwa said, adding that in terms of money and time Dar is very expensive.
Mr. Edward Kigongo the Managing Director of Ken Group of Companies in Kansanga, who also spoke to East African Business Week, revealed that because they anticipate violence in Kenya during the election period they are suspending importation of raw materials because the Dar el Salaam route is costly. READ MORE…
image credit: FrigateRN
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