Kigali, 1 March 2013
President Kagame today received Kenyan Minister for Cooperative Development and Marketing, Joseph Nyagah who came with a message on behalf of his government to re-assure Rwandans especially the business community that the upcoming presidential elections on 4 March will not interfere with the trade flow from Kenya to Rwanda.
“I was able to explain to President Kagame that unlike last time in 2007 when the security forces were caught unaware by the situation, this time our security is ready, we have major changes in the judiciary and other institutions. As far as the flow of trade is concerned we confirm there is peace at the port of Mombasa for the goods of the neighbouring countries and we also assured the President that we have security arrangements in case of chaos which we do not anticipate this time. There will be a special escort from the port all the way to Malaba Kenya boarder, we have helicopters surveying and controlling the route, we have security people every few kilometers all the way because we are committed as a country to ensuring Rwanda does not suffer.”
The last Kenyan election violence in 2007 left over 600,000 people displaced following a disputed presidential poll and more than 1,200 people were killed. Many Rwandans lost their properties in the process and are still awaiting compensation.
Mombasa is Rwanda’s main exit and entry port through Uganda. The port handled over 260,238 tonnes of Rwanda-bound goods last year, up from 226,093 tonnes in the previous year. The Northern corridor is shorter and less costly compared to ferrying goods through Dar-es-Salaam.
President Kibaki, who has led the country since 2002, will step down after the 4 March general election.
Over 600 Kenyans in Rwanda have registered to participate in the election and will for the first time; cast their votes at the Kenyan High Commission in Kigali.
The candidates in the race for Kenya’s top office include Uhuru Kenyatta (Jubilee Coalition), Raila Odinga (Cord), Mohamed Abduba Dida and Martha Wangari Karua. Others are Peter Kenneth, Prof James ole Kiyiapi, Paul Muite and Wycliffe Musalia Mudavadi.