“I want to inform the country that yesterday Cabinet agreed to reciprocate, therefore the minister of agriculture is going to identify which products to ban from Kenya. We have been very patient, we have behaved like gentle people, but this has gone on for too long.

So within a short time the minister of Agriculture will announce which products from Kenya are going to restricted as a retaliatory measure so that they understand what we are going through but in the meantime the Ministry of Trade is going to engage. I am also going to engage.”

And with those words, Uganda’s minister for East African Affairs Rebecca Kadaga announced the elevation of the longstanding trade dispute between Uganda and Kenya to the higher level of an open trade war.

Kadaga, who is also Uganda’s First Deputy Prime Minister, announced the Cabinet decision while addressing farmers’ representatives who had just handed her their petition to the government on Tuesday, urging it to engage the Kenyan government to lift its ban on Uganda’s poultry products.

The bitter farmers recounted the months old Kenyan ban on their eggs yet Kenya continues to sell chicks, poultry equipment, trays, and drugs to Uganda to produce the eggs that they don’t allow into their market, in contravention of binding East African Community protocols.

Ugandans and Kenyans alike are now waiting for Frank Tumwebaze, the Agriculture minister who is also a prominent farmer and an indefatigable NRM hawk, to declare the Uganda’s choice of targets and it its arsenal after the eruption of the open trade war between the two otherwise very friendly countries.

Kenya exports 72.2bn worth of goods to Uganda. On the other hand , Uganda exports less than half of that to Kenya. ‘Kenya has bullied Uganda for a long time because of its strategic route to the port of Mombasa. Ugandan traders are treated shabbily in Kenya and this has to stop . That’s why Tanzania is very hard on Kenya ,” Ruth Akello a business woman said in a separate interview .

Experts have intimated that Kenya stands to lose more than Uganda if the trade issues between the two sister countries are not resolved urgently .

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