The United States Administration holding meetings with the other parties of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). However, the main party was holding separate meetings with the ones whose touched by the GERD, but not the one operating nor owning the dam. That is question of sovereign. Something, the US should understand, but they only understand it when it inflicts themselves.
The two statements from both parties shows the indifference from the United States, while the Ethiopian are answering it with a respectable tone. Even when the US is acting rogue on the matter. They even used the US Treasury on this and not the US State Department, which is weird in itself. Secondly, it was Mnuchin who was involved and not Pompeo. Which is very weird and seems like someone whose not knowledgable or having the capacity to understand the questions remaining in this matter are indirectly trying to negotiate it.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia noted with disappointment the Statement issued by the United States Department of Treasury on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) released on 28 February 2020, following a meeting held without Ethiopia’s participation. Ethiopia had notified Egypt, Sudan, and the US that it needed more time to deliberate on the process” (…) “Ethiopia as the owner of the GERD will commence first filling of the GERD in parallel with the construction of the Dam in accordance with the principles of equitable and reasonable utilization and the causing of no significant harm as provided for under the Agreement on the Declaration of Principles (DoP)” (Amare Asrat – ‘Ethiopian Government Statement on GERD negotiations’ 29.02.2020).
United States of America Statement:
“Washington, DC – On February 27-28, 2020, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin participated in separate bilateral meetings with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Ministers of Water Resources of Egypt and Sudan. The United States facilitated the preparation of an agreement on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) based on provisions proposed by the legal and technical teams of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan and with the technical input of the World Bank” (…) “The United States reaffirms its commitment to remain engaged with the three countries until they sign the final agreement” (US Treasury – ‘Statement by the Secretary of the Treasury on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam’ 28.02.2020).
With this final statement by the US, the observer role is dead. They are indirectly interfering and also using their financial powers to get the Ethiopian partners to succumb to a final agreement. Even when the Ethiopian are saying they need more time, the GERD is built by them and on their soil. It is their waters that is filling it up. They are not doing anything illegal by doing so, they are only friendly neighbours by trying to make sensible deals with Egypt and Sudan. That is what the US should understand.
I wonder if they we’re thinking of revamping the Nile Waters Agreement of 1929, a relic of the colonial era. If not, maybe the US thought they could push the 1959 treaty as well. Just because they have the power, but that was before the GERD and it was other regimes in place in Sudan and Egypt. The US shouldn’t push for this ones. Especially, when the US is not involving the owner and operator in talks. Which is disappointing, but also revealing their allies.
Egypt and Sudan needs to cooperate with Ethiopia. They should do so directly to seek their grievances, not work in direct tandem with Washington D.C. especially when Ethiopia is not part of it. That shows the three parties isn’t working together, but trying to score brownie points with the US.
This is not sincere. The approach not to be configured, if there shall be trust between Addis Ababa, Khartoum and Cairo. GERD need another approach by all parties. Especially the US should act sincere, because this talks with others are of no good. The Ethiopian side needs to be listen too, since they are the owner and operator. Not some fool with no vision.
Sudan and Egypt should play ball with Addis, not make love stories with Washington. That is not how these sort of diplomatic negotiations should go. They should know this, unless they wants to be puppets of the US. Peace.
“For us, a bad road is cause for complaining. But for people in affluent societies who have never experienced getting stuck on a bad road, pushing a car from a ditch can be part of tourism experience,” – Henry Okello Oryem before Foreign Affairs Committee (14.01.2020).
Who knew? Why wasn’t this thought of before?
I think Okello Oryem has found the Holy Grail of Tourism. Maybe, he needs to consult the State Minister for Tourism Godfrey Kiwanda. His Miss Curvy Uganda is clearly not cutting it. Neither, does Yeezy’s sneakers nor the trips with Zari or Fabiola. It all doesn’t cut it. Showing of the national parks and the beautiful sights. No, the Ministry should show the bad backroads of Amuriat, Kaabong or anywhere else the state has forgotten to invest in roads.
If it is the middle of Bunyoro, Busoga or Karamoja. Who cares, the cars get stuck and only military vehicles can pass. If luck a 4 wheel-drive of Land Cruiser might make you pass. If not, get a safari fixed Land Rover Defender to pass the bad roads in West Nile or even Toro might fancy someone.
Why has the President always praised his road building? Why has he always proclaimed the steady progress of good roads and better Public Private Partnership Programme of building roads in rural Uganda? Shouldn’t he disband the thing? Ensure all roads suck, so that every tourist and everyone passing Uganda would feel the badness?
Getting stuck between Mbale to Kampala, when going back to the Metropolitan area after seeing Sipi Falls. Don’t get through the Mabira Forest after visiting the Source of the Nile in Jinja. Why not getting stuck around Hoima after seeing Murchinson Falls outside Masindi. That will be such an thrill.
Wasting time as tourist, when your on limited time(!). Trying to see the best things, trying the specialities and the best things the Republic has to offer. And all the SAFARI companies has forgotten the bad rural roads. They have forgotten selling Kampala as “Kampotholo”. They have forgotten sell the driving style to avoid dipping into the potholes. “Drive like a Ugandan By Ugandans” DUBU. Kiwanda and Okello Oryem should be the faces of DUBU. Everyone will forget about BUBU by the next month.
If you seriously think tourists wants to be stuck in traffic jam in Kampala. Be lost in Taxi Park not finding the right taxi or spending fortunes on specials. Your wrong. They neither want to drive on the side-walk, frighten that the boda-boda driver will get their head served as a token of his reckless driving. But, with the minds of Okello Oryem, he might think that is a selling point too.
When, you want to sell things. You want to sell experiences. Not sell your mediocre performance, your lack of good governance and lack of pride in your own government. Because, this government has ruled for over 34 years and still haven’t fixed core issues.
So, now the Minister is praising potholes. Maybe, his mind has a pothole too. It is not cemented and mended correctly. As he wants people to not enjoy the sights of the Republic, but endure the bad state of the roads. Being stuck, getting into jams and struggling from A to B. When your in Rome, you want to see the Vatican. When your in Kampala, you want to see Mengo and the Kasubi Tombs. If that was too hard. People wouldn’t try to go there, but they do, because the roads are good enough.
If the roads to Masindi and Paraa sucked like hell. People would still go to Murchinson Falls. Still, it would make it more hectic and stressful. Because, people want to experience the beauty and greatness of the Republic. Not dilute their time on the road and break their backs. Neither should the locals, the residents, who suffers there every day. Those are the ones whose paying for the lack of care from the government. They are suffering this madness 24/7. The tourist only taste it for a minute and goes. It is not a fairytale nor exiting thing. Instead, its heartbreaking. Because, the public deserve better.
“I Pity The Fool” said Mt T. and I pity Henry for this proposal. His constituents deserve, every single citizen deserves better. He now wants the state to promote their lack work and diligence as an experience. Get out of here with that Bullshit. Peace.
This is becoming a never ending story. Where the state, all the various ministries, state owned organizations and whoever gotten the tender has been able to finish the project of 21 kilometres or 23 kilometres. Since on that one this project even differs.
What we do know is that this have been in the courts over battle over payment for land. It has been postponed and stopped, because the company doing the work has been shoddy. There been plenty of controversy and not all good news. That is why these kilometres has taken so long to build and still isn’t finished.
It is really amazing how this continues and it seems that this will be prolonged even longer. Because, we know what season its getting into. Election season and then all sorts of budgets and campaigns whacks out everything else. Even if this one is now scheduled to be done by 2021. But we know how flexible the end-dates are. So don’t be confused if it is still unfinished in 2023 or 2025. Because this project that was launched in 2004 seems to be alive and kicking a little bit longer.
New Vision 2008:
“THE public is still awaiting the opening of the 21km Kampala Northern Bypass. The project was launched on May 20, 2004 and was to last 30 months, ending on November 19, 2006. It was later extended by 10 months to September 2007. This was later to change to March this year, which deadline was also not met. This delay is causing public concern. Apart from reports of extortion by the guards who allow motorists to use the road illegally, accidents are beginning to happen” (Chris Kiwawulo – ‘Will the Northern Bypass ever be completed?’ 25.04.2008).
JICA Report in 2010:
“The recent cooperation of the EU for the GKMA urban road sector is as follows:
• Kampala Northern Bypass: €47.5 million, Construction of 21 km bypass to relieve congestion in Kampala City (completed and opened to the public in October 2009).
• Technical Assistance to RAFU/UNRA: €2.0 million (on-going)” (JAPAN INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AGENCY (JICA) – ‘THE STUDY ON GREATER KAMPALA ROAD NETWORK AND TRANSPORT IMPROVEMENT IN THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA –
FINAL REPORT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY – NOVEMBER 2010).
CSBAG Paper 2018:
“For example,the works on Kampala Northern Bypass registered a cumulative progress by end of June 2017 of 46.7% against the programmed 97.95%. The elapsed time was 98.81% based on the Original Program of Works. The major issues affecting progress is delayed site access, Design issues and Relocation of services” (…) “ Kampala Northern Bypass highlighted as a project to be concluded in FY 2018/19. This is not feasible as none of the six roundabouts which have sizable infrastructural and structural undertakings has been commenced on” (CSBAG – ‘CSO POSITION PAPER ON THE WORKS AND TRANSPORTSECTOR BUDGET FY2018/19’ 12.04.2018).
Article October 2019:
“The upgrade of the Kampala Northern by pass into a four-lane high way started back in 2014 with the completion date set for November 2018. However, the date has been pushed to 2021 due to a couple of challenges hindering the project which include; changes on the original design and compensation of the affected people. Mr. Allan Ssempebwa, UNRA’s media manager last month said that the works stood at 60% and mentioned that the interchanges at Sentema and Namungoona will be handed over to the government by the end of this year” (Patrick Mulyungi – ‘Uganda to launch three new footbridges on Kampala Northern Bypass’ 02.10.2019).
So, we are seeing the stages of building is either not done or postponed. This is all done by various of reasons. The Kampala Northern Bypass are really a long prolonged project that seemingly seems never to end. Even the government own paper wondered about that 11 years ago and we have to wait another two years. But knowing how this ones goes. Don’t expect the state to follow its timeline.
What I wondering about, how proud is the European Union for supporting the project and the longevity of this. There should be questions from the ones who has funded it and why it takes so long. Since, they are accepting it and surely gotten the explanations. Because, we who follows haven’t really.
There are lame duck excuses with the land and the state paying the ones living there. Where the state has to pay for the hurt of building a road on private land. If they planned this and commenced this in 2004. By the time of 2019, the state should have been able to settle this and know the route of the road. However, they are showing lack of due diligence and putting the work in.
Because, the Northern Bypass should have been done by now. That isn’t rocket-science. This is made like this since people are eating of this project. Not like it should take this long to finish a 21/23 kilometres long tarmacked road around Kampala. But apparently it does. Peace.
The Standard Gauge Railway in the East African Community was all based on if the Chinese counterparts wanted to fund the infrastructure and the grand enterprise of rails in the region. Today, it was revealed, not shockingly that the SGR works in Uganda has been suspended. This after reports in the Daily Monitor revealed this:
“Uganda’s first phase of SGR, the eastern line running from Malaba to Kampala, about 273km (338km rail length), is expected to cost $2.3bn. Mr Kasaija admitted that Uganda has currently taken a back seat on the SGR venture, but will resume “serious discussions once Kenya is about to reach” the Ugandan side. President Museveni, according to sources familiar with the venture, in recent months had been directly involved in discussions on the project, and had hoped to secure financing for the first section of the railway line during his visit to China last month when he attended the seventh Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit. But he returned empty-handed. However, Mr Kasaija revealed that during the discussions in Beijing, it was agreed that “Uganda and Kenya will embark on joint financing negotiations” after Kenya has completed the current Nairobi-Naivasha section” (Daily Monitor – ‘Uganda puts SGR on hold over unresolved issues with Kenya’ 30.10.2018, link: https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/news/ea/uganda/Uganda-puts-SGR-over-unresolved-issues-kenya/4003148-4828902-156c5upz/index.html).
I have doubts that it will help reaching more agreements with the Kenyan counterparts at this time. As they have had plenty of agreements, joint communiques and meetings with the Northern Corridor Integrated Project (NCIP), which is going back to 2015. Where there was back in October 2015 on the 11th NCIP Communique, where the document stated: “the summit noted progress made in the finalisation of bankable proposals for some sections and directed the Ministers of Finance, Infrastructure, Attorney Generals, coordinated by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, to undertake a joint visit to EXIM Bank in China to conclude Financing Agreements” (11th NCIP Summit – Joint Communique’ Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya 17.10.2015).
If you follow it clearly, the progress of the 2015 have been stalled or rejected, but the parties still want to pursuit the goal of building the rails. Even as even the Chinese doesn’t believe in it or seeing the lack of fortunes in Kenya to maybe wishing to extend the tracks further at this given moment. What we are seeing is that the Ugandan government has persisted, but not gone through.
They even had the idea of the SGR Railway in the National Development Plan II of 3rd March 2015, which also holds the idea of the rails alive with this statement: “Joint formal agreements for plans to build a new Standard Gauge railway (SGR) have been signed by the EAC Countries. The SGR project starts in Mombasa through Nairobi, Kampala, Kigali and Juba. A cross section of the different routes of the SGR to the South Western, Northern, North Western and Eastern Uganda will aid the mining industry through transportation of equipment and raw materials. The overall objective of the SGR is to jointly develop and operate a modern, fast, reliable, efficient and high capacity regional railway transport system as a seamless single system and as a mechanism to stimulate overall economic development” (NDPII, 03.03.2015). By the way, the implementation of the NDPII is supposed to be between 2015/2016 to 2019/2020 to fulfill the Vision 2020. However, by the SGR failure, this shows the lack of progress and just the major agreements, but not the needed funding or possibility of partners to invest in the huge infrastructure projects the government has.
While on the 3rd of October, the Ministry of Works produced the 14th Joint Transport Sector Review Workshop presentation, where they by June 2018 stated: “The financing agreement for the SGR was not signed. However, negotiations to sign the financing agreement are in advanced stages” (Ministry of Works, 03.10.2018). So, you see, the government knows perfectly well, they cannot and doesn’t have finances for the building of it. It is soon November 2018 and getting closer to Vision 2020, but no sign of a working rails across the Republic. Especially not, when they are waiting for the Chinese to see it as a viable project in the first place.
What the government didn’t tell today or yesterday, is that the Chinese said no a little while ago:
“For it to make business sense, the proposed line has to reach Uganda in order to take over a huge chunk of the haulage business in the landlocked country ahead of the Tanzania-Rwanda SGR line. Uganda is said to have decided to revamp its old metre-gauge railway when it became apparent that the Kenyan line could delay for up to three years. A regional weekly recently reported that the ministers for transport and finance of the two countries were supposed to have engagements with China Exim Bank on the sections of Kisumu to Kampala via Malaba” (…) “This, however, flopped and instead the executives from China Exim Bank flew to Kampala and later Nairobi last November to carry out due diligence on the Uganda project proposal and contract application” (Guguyu Otiato – ‘Worry as China puts SGR funding on hold’ 06.03.2018 link: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/business/article/2001294667/alarm-as-china-puts-sgr-funding-on-hold).
So, when the government are saying it wasn’t signed, is that the Exim Chinese Bank rejected it and hasn’t accepted the infrastructure project at this point. Certainly, they don’t see it viable or even possible for profits. They have already started in Kenya, but has to finish that part, before they extend to the other Republics in the EAC. Therefore, the SGR is still a dream elsewhere in the Northern Corridor, as they seemed more ready in 2015, than the donors or the development partners ever where. Because the GoU are not ready to finance it self and not have the ability to do so. Without getting funding from the outside. They have to beg for loans and grants to get it. Peace.