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President Klaus Iohannis, accompanied by his wife Carmen, attended the farewell ceremony held at State House in Dar es Salaam on Sunday, marking the conclusion of his official visit to the United Republic of Tanzania. In addition to the official ceremony, Klaus and Carmen Iohannis experienced a unique surprise at the farewell party.

Two video recordings published by spotmedia show a group of locals shouting various wishes around portraits of the couple. Later, the locals jump into the water with the portraits of Klaus and Carmen Iohannis, shouting “Hakuna matata!”—an expression meaning “No worries, everything is fine.”

Iohannis arrived in Tanzania on Friday, where he had one-on-one talks with his counterpart, Samia Suluhu Hassan. On Saturday, the head of state was received by Zanzibar President Hussein Mwinyi. President Klaus Iohannis begins his visit to the Republic of Cape Verde on Monday, the penultimate stage of his African tour, preceded by visits to Kenya, Tanzania, and Zanzibar.

The President’s visits to Africa will conclude in Senegal, according to Klaus Iohannis started his African tour on November 14 with a state visit to Kenya, where he was welcomed by his Kenyan counterpart, William Ruto. Subsequently, he participated in a meeting at the UN Office in Nairobi with the Executive Director of UNEP – United Nations Environment Program.

On Wednesday, November 15, the head of state met with the Minister for Nature Protection of Kenya, Alfred Nganga Mutua, and the Director-General of the Kenya Wildlife Service, Erustus Kanga, during a visit to Nairobi National Park. On Thursday, he visited Uthiru Girls High School. The head of state will conclude his visits to Africa on November 23.

The final leg of this tour is in the Republic of Senegal, where President Klaus Iohannis will have political consultations with his counterpart Macky Sall. The official program of the visit includes, among other things, the participation of the two heads of state in the inauguration of the United Nations House in Senegal, which will host the 34 UN agencies present in the country. President Iohannis will also have a meeting with former Senegalese students in Romania. 

Azimio leader Raila Odinga. [Emmanuel Wanson]

Azimio leader Raila Odinga has demanded the resignation and prosecution of two Cabinet Secretaries for their role in a controversial oil deal that he claims is a scam to loot public funds.

In a statement on Monday, November 20, Odinga said he had evidence linking Energy and Petroleum CS Davis Chirichir and National Treasury CS Njuguna Ndungu to the illegal withdrawal of Sh42.97 billion from the consolidated fund, without the approval of Parliament, to subsidize “private financial enterprises” in the oil sector.

Odinga said he was shocked and dismayed by the response of the oil companies, the National Assembly majority leadership and Chirichir to the issues he raised last Thursday when he exposed the deal that President William Ruto announced to the nation in April 2023. 

He said the deal, which Ruto claimed would ease the economic suffering of Kenyans, was a sham that only benefited a few individuals and cartels at the expense of the public.

He accused the oil companies of state capture and complete takeover by cartels, saying they had the nerve to answer Kenyans when Kenyans sought answers from their government. He also accused the legislative arm of the government of being captured by the Executive and failing to perform its oversight role.

“We always knew that the legislative arm of government has been captured by the Executive and can no longer perform its oversight role. The response by the Leader of Majority therefore did not come as a complete surprise. It confirmed what we already know,” he said.

“What came as a complete shock was the response from the oil companies. Apparently, we have reached a situation where oil marketing companies, all with shady histories, feel confident and compelled to answer Kenyans when Kenyans seek answers from their government! This is the clearest indication of state capture and compete takeover by cartels. The cartels speak for the government, and the government speaks for the cartels,” he added. 

Odinga said he agreed with Busia Senator Okiya Omtata, who presented evidence of the government withdrawing Sh17.22 billion from the consolidated fund in June 2023, to subsidize “private financial enterprises.” 

He said he suspected that the money was linked to the Sh17 billion worth of diesel that was disputed by a woman named Anne Njeri and the two Cabinet Secretaries.  

Odinga said Njeri was a “private financial enterprise” funded illegally by money from the consolidated fund and received by the Ministry of Petroleum.

He said Chirichir and Ndungu had certainly committed criminal offences, abused office and violated the constitution by stealing money from the consolidated fund, in addition to spending money way above what Parliament approved.

“They must not only resign. They must also be prosecuted,” he said. 

Odinga also challenged the government to make public the memorandum of understanding it signed with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the oil deal, saying it must be a document signed by a representative of the two countries and the Republic of Kenya, not by the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, ADNOC Global Trading Ltd., or Emirates National Oil Company.

He questioned why the National Oil Corporation, which has a legal mandate to participate in all aspects of the petroleum sector, was completely left out of the deal. By David Njaaga, The Standard

A section of university students work on their projects during the inter-university Hackathon 2023 competition held at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

A team of five students from Machakos University has won the Hackathon 2023, a national competition that challenges students to create innovative solutions using cutting-edge technologies.

The winning team, Blind Eye, developed a mobile application that guides visually impaired people to walk around.

The app uses the camera to detect the surroundings and give voice instructions to the user, such as “turn right”, “stop”, or “avoid obstacle”. The app does not require an internet connection to function and aims to enhance the inclusivity and independence of the visually impaired. 

Anne Joy Njoroge, one of the members of Blind Eye, said the inspiration for the app came from observing challenges faced by those with vision challenges.

“We have seen their problems as they walk around. There is Machakos Institute for the Blind right next to our school, where we see blind people around,” she said. 

The Hackathon 2023, which began in 2019, brought together 14 universities from both private and public. The judges were impressed by the originality, scalability and social impact of the app. 

Prof Anthony Waititu, a statistics lecturer at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and one of the judges, said that they were looking for 'ideas that can disrupt the way the world is learning'. He praised the students for their creativity and problem-solving abilities.

According to Kenya Airports Parking Services (KAPS) Chief Executive Officer Ngala Saronge the event was a success and a testament to the talent and innovation of Kenyan students. 

“With the initiative, we are able to bring all the students’ talents to the fore, making sure we are able to link universities to the industry. We are happy to see that innovation is coming directly from the students,” he said. By Wilberforce Okwiri, The Standard


Trucks transporting petroleum products to Uganda. A new law empowers Unoc to supply the Ugandan market, raising some queries.

All oil marketing firms will now be buying from the state supplier. They say they should have been given a chance to compete because Unoc effectively creates a monopoly.

With the passing of the Petroleum Supply (Amendment) Bill 2023 this week, Kampala inched closer to sealing the deal that gives a monopoly to the state-owned Uganda National Oil Company (Unoc) as the sole importer and supplier of fuel products into the country via a multimillion partnership with Swiss-based Dutch energy and commodity trading giant Vitol.

As the falling-out between Uganda and Kenya over the fuel supply deal unravels, uncertainty has gripped new investors in the industry as well as old players who fear that the new arrangement gives advantage to some oil marketing companies (OMCs) over others.

Among these is Mahathi Infra Uganda Ltd, a $270 million oil logistics investment and recent entrant in the industry, operating fuel storage facilities near Kampala. Its management is on knife-edge as directors wonder how, if at all, they fit in the new arrangement.

“It’s not yet very clear how we fit,” said Mike Mukula, chairman of Mahathi Infra.

The company also operates four barges on Lake Victoria, which move petroleum products from Kisumu Port to its reserves in Kawuku on the shores of Lake Victoria, 18km from Kampala.

“All oil marketing companies, including us, will now be buying from one supplier, Unoc. We should have been given a chance to compete [because] buying from one supplier is a shift and creates a monopoly. We would wish to sit down with Unoc on the logistics framework,” Mr Mukula told The EastAfrican.

Legislator Nathan Nandala Mafabi, who is also a businessman with a string of fuelling stations across the country, fears that the Vitol-Unoc partnership gives some players advantage over others, citing Vitol’s interest in of one of Uganda’s largest dealers Vivo Energy. 

“It would have been better if we gave Unoc money to trade directly. When we bring in Vitol, the shareholder of Vivo Energy that trades as Shell, I can tell you we might be helping them to make more money instead of benefiting Ugandans,” he told Parliament, as the Bill was passed.

Final pump price

While presenting the committee’s report that informed the vote on the Bill, Emmanuel Otaala, who chairs Parliament’s Committee on Natural Resources, said that Uganda imports 90 percent of its petroleum products through Kenya and 10 percent through Tanzania.

The system currently imposes three layers of middlemen from overseas refineries, where the fuel is sourced, to the Ugandan oil marketing companies, with each of the Kenyan middlemen infusing a profit margin that is ultimately fed into the final pump price.

A simple majority of the committee justified its support for the Bill, stating that Uganda’s inability to purchase oil directly from the refineries in the Gulf states – Aramco, Adnoc, and Enoc – leads to an extra mark-up on Uganda’s fuel from Kenyan companies and uncertainty in supply of petroleum products which comes down to high and unpredictable pump price.

Under the Vitol-Unoc arrangement, Vitol will finance the supply of the petroleum products up to delivery points in Kenya, on a non-immediate cash payment basis, to enable Ugandan monopoly pay after supplying the oil marketing companies in the country, the Committee’s report said.

But critics say that this deal comes with its own implications for the end-user. “Vitol will now source money all over the world to supply oil, but there will be interest, so the moment we approve this monopoly, fuel prices will be high,” Mr Nandala argued in Parliament.

There are also fears that the Vitol is another foreign-owned company coming to play at the top of a sector that has 170 OMCs, a majority of which are not owned by nationals – hence this deal further shrinks Ugandans’ market share and participation.

For instance, the top three OMCs in Uganda – TotalEnergies, Vivo Energy and Stabex International – are all foreign-owned, controlling 46 percent of the market share.

But also coming into scrutiny is Unoc’s reserves capacity, at 30 million litres; the company’s fuel storage facilities are located in Jinja, 80km from Kampala, but market analysis shows that the biggest volume of fuel imports into Uganda is consumed within a 65km radius from the capital city.

The EastAfrican has learnt that even before the law was passed, wheeler-dealers in Kampala were already circling in and scheming for logistics deals to deliver the fuel to the oil marketing companies, as it emerges that Unoc will pick private firms to transport fuel imports.

Kenyan middlemen

“We do not plan to get into transportation business at all,” says Peter Muliisa, chief legal and corporate affairs officer at Unoc. “That will remain with private sector and we will work with all transporters.”

“We are however looking at all transportation systems (road, rail and water) and engaging players in all. Our overarching objective is ensuring that Ugandans get fuel in the most efficient manner possible,” he added.

With both the Kenya and Tanzania routes to be used, this opens a window for Mahathi Infra, whose four ships carry 4.5 million litres each, making 10 movements in a month, delivering 180 million litres of fuel – or three-quarters of the fuel volume that Uganda consumes in a month.

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni championed his government’s protestations and the move to cut off Kenyan middlemen from the fuel supply deals, which elicited response from Nairobi, by going to court and also threatening to block Uganda-bound imports from Kenya Pipeline infrastructure.

Kenyan authorities also said that Unoc would be required to be locally registered in Kenya before it can operate in Mombasa and receive petroleum products from the refineries in the Gulf countries, for onward transportation into Uganda, and this left Tanzania as the option, despite fears over its infrastructure. 

But Unoc says this is not an issue anymore.

“Our plan is to use both with Kenyan route bringing in the bigger percentage. Access to Kenyan infrastructure isn’t an issue and we are perfectly finalising that process. Registering Unoc by continuation in Kenya isn’t a problem and we have already finished that part so we do not see any challenge,” explained Mr Muliisa.

He added that the Central Corridor route requirements are also being worked on and the company is in discussions with the government of Tanzania on how to optimise infrastructure there.

Legislator Dicksons Kateshumbwa, a former commissioner of customs at Uganda Revenue Authority, argues that Tanzania has made significant investment in expansion of Dar Port infrastructure, to facilitate regional trade.

Fuel demand

He also argues that for fuel imports to Uganda, Dar is not a sole option but a supplementary one, citing the distance from Dar es Salaam to Mutukula, which is about 1,500km, and the cost of transportation per cubic metre to Uganda being about $120-$130.

“There is no pipeline from Dar to Uganda for now, so transportation is by road and partly through the lake via Mwanza,” he said on X.

However, road transport has ruled the fuel transport business for Uganda-bound products for decades, and logistics experts say that 90-95 percent of trucks delivering cargo into Uganda are owned by foreigners who have powerful lobbies that keep them on top in the Northern Corridor and the interior.

With transporters scheming for contracts, it is not clear what Unoc’s preferred choice will be, but transport economists warn that in the absence of rail – currently due to renovations on the track – the choices are limited to road and water for delivery of fuel cargo.

Uganda needs between 210-225 trailers per day to feed its fuel demand adequately, but each litre of fuel carried by road comes with a cost of Ush161 (0.042 US cents) compared to Ush64 (0.016 US cents) on fuel delivered by water transport, economists say.

According to Mukula, one fuel Mahathi Infra barge carries the equivalent of what 170 fuel trucks deliver, and former URA customs boss Kateshumbwa agrees that lower transport costs would translate into cheaper fuel for motorists as pump prices are a function of product cost, transportation and taxes.

Mahathi went into operation in 2020, mainly picking up fuel imports from Kisumu supplied off the Kenya Open Tender System (OTS), but also operating 70 million litres capacity fuel reserves to serve product shortages in Uganda.

In ditching Kenya’s OTS and later G2G [government-to-government] oil purchase arrangement from the refineries, Uganda has taken a move that ends what the market players have called political and business cartels, although it now creates its own monopoly.

But this greatly impacts the operationalisation of Kisumu Port and oil jetty in Kenya will lose up to $100 million. By Julius Barigaba, The East African

The UK’s highest court ruled against Rishi Sunak’s plans to deport all illegal migrants to Rwanda (Picture: EPA)© Provided by Metro

The prime minister turned ‘foul’ with Number 10 staff after the Supreme Court struck down the government’s Rwanda migration scheme, a source has revealed.

The UK’s highest court ruled against Rishi Sunak’s plans to deport all illegal migrants to Rwanda, saying it breached at least five UK laws and four international conventions. 

This led to Mr Sunak becoming ‘furious’, despite the news inflation had halved. ‘For 46 minutes, government good news led BBC News,’ one official told The Times.

‘Then the ruling came – joy turned to despair. Confusion and chaos reigned.

‘Number 10 were firing in loads of questions to the Home Office, asking random questions on figures such as arrests and deportations.

‘They were just trying to get through the day.’

But Mr Sunak announced the government will introduce emergency legislation to get flights to Rwanda off the ground.

In a press conference on Wednesday evening, he said this new legislation will enable parliament to ‘confirm’ that ‘Rwanda is safe’ and end a ‘merry-go-round’ of legal challenges.

He added the government is working on a new international treaty with Rwanda, which will ‘provide a guarantee in law that those who are relocated from the UK to Rwanda will be protected against removal from Rwanda and it will make clear that we will bring back anyone if ordered to do so by a court’. 

It followed Mr Sunak sacking Suella Braverman as home secretary and the subsequent cabinet reshuffle, which included the surprise appointment of David Cameron as foreign secretary.

New home secretary James Cleverly confirmed the government still plans to run deportation flights to Rwanda in the future, after the Supreme Court ruled they currently cannot go ahead.

The controversial scheme forms a cornerstone of Rishi Sunak’s flagship promise to ‘stop the boats’, with ministers arguing the prospect of deportation would act as a deterrent to drive down the number of people crossing the English Channel.  By Brooke Davies, Metro

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