The Battle for the Oil the Coast; Double pipelines seems to be the END-game: Kenyan on their own, while Uganda picks route through Tanzania!

Kenyatta Ruto

There was not too far ago when the Government of Kenya was dreaming in their wild pipedream to advance their own ideas and manage to hook the Ugandan Government so they wouldn’t continue with the progressive agreement with Tanzanian counter-parts. In the end it seems like the waves are long gone. The wind from Lake Albert never seemed to turn.

LAPSSET_South-Sudan_Kenya_Pipeines-and-Lamu_Refinery_Map

We had to wait until 23rd April 2016 to be reassured that the President Museveni and his NRM could not be persuaded to be a continued or locked into the LAPSSET:   Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport. So it would be from Hoima, Western Uganda into the Northern Kenya bypass into the prospected lines would go there both from Ethiopia and South Sudan down to the shores and bays of Lamu Port.

Instead Uganda have continued and promised to honour the 2015 Memorandum of Understanding with Tanzania the Uganda–Tanzania Crude Oil Pipeline (UTCOP); that goes from Hoima or Lake Albert through the Tanzanian nation down to the shores of the Tanga Port. This is also because of the agreements and assurance of both governments and also the new Oil-Drilling companies in Uganda like Total and ENI. They have also spoken their peace and does not feel safe as where the Pipeline goes through uncertain areas of Kenya.

Tanzania-Uganda-Pipeline_0

So there will be two pipelines and in close reach and also with distinguished end-game; as the economic prospects are changed, the rates for oil-transport will be lost in the sight of Kenya. The Kenyan cannot now have future prospects of the oil-rates and jobs as a Pipeline gives. They will have cough-up the funding and most likely more borrowed money for the grand infrastructure.

The Ugandan will use funds and borrow monies to fund the pipeline-building and also give tax-payers and jobs in Tanzania. The rates by just transporting the oil from A-B will be a good tax-base for the Tanzanian Government. President Kenyatta hoped that his close relationship would help him and also with his Deputy Ruto also campaigning for Museveni to give something back. Seems like that didn’t help as the President Kikwete already have sweetened the tea and offered something that also helps to calm down the Oil-Drilling investors and their envelopes.

Keter Citizen TV

CS Keter of Kenya must be disappointed as his detained moment in Tanga Port came to nothing and the KDF forces inside Somalia are the reason for the fallout. Though I doubt that is the main reason. That is the diplomatic reason from the Ugandan Government. Ugandan Government and NRM-Regime is about money. They are all about the money, therefore the non-accountability and non-open tax-regime. The Ugandan Government would never say that is the main reason, but if Total, ENI and CNOOC words and tax-base is the current controlling the reasons for President Museveni. As he wants them on his side; so he can have secret deals with the Oil-Companies and keep the low-key taxes; not to talk about the un-disclosed agreements between them and the government of Uganda.

Therefore I am not surprised I think they only went into the talks in Kenya to please their neighbour and trading-partner as the relationship have soften over the last few months and the President of Kenya and President of Uganda have cherished more time together. As President Museveni have played the big-man and asked for suitors while waiting for the words from the Oil-Companies. The excuse of not taking Kenya is certainly been given by the Oil-Companies as the Ugandan President will only take the highest rates and the lowest fees for the construction. We can see that the borrowed monies that will be used should have low-charges and be clearly not too bad to GDP or the national inflation.

Kenyatta Museveni

Still, the matters remain how the relationship really is between Uganda and Kenya. As they have fought over the little Migingo Island and chicken export fiasco. An the Recently also covered a squabble over Yellow Fever Notes to give to Border Patrols to be relieved and be allowed to Enter into Kenya from Uganda. So with the decision to abandon all hope for Kenya and totally give way to Tanzania; will be hurting the pride of the Harambee in the coming weeks. Especially since the Kenyan has tried to get the Ugandan’s to use their port instead. This backfired and didn’t work.

I hope that this doesn’t stop the other Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIP) as of the Standard Gauge Railway and others that can connect the nations and bring softer transport of people and goods between the East African nations. Certainly the matter is at hand and the justification would be “terrorism” as why the pipeline didn’t get extended. Though I believe it is much more to say “cash money” and in general the black gold revenues.

This here will certainly be uncovered over time and the real reason will show-up by the Al-Shabab is a deflection and we know the gig is up. Peace.

Burundian Ambassador Jean Bosco Bareza Speaks Out on Burundi Crisis (Youtube-Clip)

“The United Nations Security Council has unanimously backed a resolution that lays the groundwork for deploying a UN police presence in Burundi to help calm the violence in the troubled nation. The resolution tasks UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with drawing up within 15 days a list of options for the proposed police force, in consultation with the Burundian government and the African Union. NBS’s Solomon Serwanjja spoke to the Burundian ambassador to Uganda, Jean Bosco Bareza about his government’s reaction to the possible deployment of the UN police in Bujjumbura” (NTV Uganda, 2016).

Chinese-built road to boost development in Kenya (Youtube-Clip)

“The tarmacking of the 130km Turbi-Moyale road by a Chinese firm, which connects Kenya and Ethiopia, is poised to unlock economic opportunities in Kenya’s northern county of Marsabit, and the country as a whole.  The road, which is set to be completed by June, is being constructed by the Chinese firm Wuyi. The road has opened up the towns in the Upper Eastern part of Kenya to trade, and helped boost trade amongst locals and people from other parts of the country” (New China TV, 2016)

#AddisTaxiStrike 2016: Taxi-Drivers today strikes for similar reasons as in 1998! Ethiopian Gov. Acts like business as usual.

Addis Taxi Strike 2016

Here is quick look into the new Taxi-Strike in Addis Ababa; that is escalating today into more towns in Ethiopia. That is interesting as the country has massive history. When it comes to strikes and had a giant demonstration that has toppled governments in the past. This might just be about a law, but this law comes from Federal Transport Authority. Seems like the Taxi Drivers is not interested in a new regulations and that opens the possibility of taking their licenses away.

I will bring some historic Taxi Strikes from Addis Ababa. The ones I will mention is the one in 1998 seemed to be for the same reasons actually. The other I will mention is in 1974 we’re because of the high oil-prices and also directly against the government. From the strikes of the past there are certainly things we can learn from and at the same time; see the similarities between 2016 and 1998. Just take a brief look.

The Taxi Strike of 1974:

“The second conjuncture was the steep rise in oil prices following OPEC embargo of 1973, which hit the Ethiopian economy hard. The inevitable result was galloping inflation that left a large hole in the pockets of urban wage-earners. Taxi drivers came out on strike over pump prices in February 1974 and teachers followed suit” (Nugent, 2012).”The Taxi drivers were going to go on strike as of 18 February, of Teachers’ Association decided to join them and bring the country’s educational system to a standstill on the same day” (…)”The Students, who since the late 1960s, had deliberately abandoned pursuing corporatist interests in favor of advocating a fundamental change through class boycotts, demonstrations and the distribution of anti-government leaflets, found in the taxi drivers and teachers long sought-after allies and, on 18 February, poured out onto the streets of Addis Ababa chanting revolutionary slogans and agitating resistance against the government” (Andargachew, 2009).

Lesser known Taxi Strike in 1998:

“Addis Ababa — Taxi drivers in Addis Ababa went on strike on Wednesday, July 8, 1998 in protest against new traffic regulations put into operation by the Transport and Communications Bureau of the Addis Ababa Administration as of the same date” (…)”The regulations identify several categories of traffic offences, matching them with their respective fines. The offences and their respective penalties are as follows (“Addis Zemen”, Sene 27, 1990 E.C.)”(AllAfrica.com, 1998).

More on the strike in 1998:
“Stiff new traffic safety regulations introduced: Stringent new traffic regulations have been introduced in Addis Ababa to stem a rising trend of traffic accidents in the city. According to officials, Addis Ababa currently suffers the highest rate of traffic accidents in the world with a total of 9,714 incidents recorded in the past 12 months with 300 deaths, 2,340 injuries, and a loss of property worth 11.6 million birr (approx. U.S. $1.7 million). The death toll represented a 17 per cent increase from the previous year. Announcing the move on July 3, the Transport and Communications Bureau announced the regulations put traffic offences into six categories entailing penalties raging from 40 to 140 birr, with the most serious resulting in court proceedings and the disqualification of drivers. Taxi owners, who described the new rules as “punitive rather than preventive”, held a one day strike on July 8 to protest the regulations. (The monitor, July 4-5)” (UNDP, 1998).

Taxi Strike Addis 2016 P1

This Year’s Strike:

On the 29th February different parts of the City the strike started. Quickly reached all part of the city and the taxis was not to be seen. The Areas with no taxi services was verified early at Saris, Megenegna, Kassanchis, Abnet, Shiro,Meda and Jemmo. The reports early were also that workers and students from the Southern parts of Addis Ababa could not get to town. The Addis Standard told earlier in the day that buses took people from Asko, Plassa, Arat Killo and Mercato R areas. Government tried to get people to take buses as the taxis was already striking. People were stranded at Sandafa, Laga Tafo and Burayu. There was even some taxis trying to avoid being a apart of the strike, instead they ended with violent reactions as they countered the solidarity between the drivers. The strike also led to the ordinary commuters to and owners of cars taking them to gas stations and long ques at the gas stations. After some hours even Bajaj drivers joined the taxi drivers in their strike in Holota. Special Eyewitness statement during the day was one: “Taxi strike Addis and Oromia Special Zone are in a mess situation as there was strikes by public transport providers. All taxes, minibus, higers and lonchins were in strike. In response this serious transportation problem there was conflict between police and public at Burayu (Keta district) around 8.00 am”.

On the 30th February the strike continued in Addis Ababa and there were no signs of them in the streets. The government had by this time deployed 380 public buses to get people moving in the city. There outcome is longer ques and traffic jams than normally.

ETV Taxi Strike 01.03.2016

During the 1st March while still the strike was going on. On the ETV the newscaster had the balls to call the taxi-strikers was calling them “terrorist”. Surely the walking is going to his head as he need to walk it seems.

On the 2nd March the strike continues and at some taxi stations around towns there are more donkey carts than ever and still no taxis. As the Taxi Drivers really means business when it comes to this law and matter!

Government Should Cancel the new traffic regulation – Taxi Drivers: 

Another news report after an hour after the start of the strike said this:

“As we have reported an hour ago, #addistaxistrike has continued. They are protesting a new Ethiopian law that has ignored them” (…)”BREAKING: Taxis in Addis Ababa go on strike against a new driving rule” (SiTube, 29.02.2016).

Background:

“Following the announcement of a new decree to execute Regulation Number 208/2010 that the Federal Transport Authority is said to implement on drivers, taxi drivers in the city of Addis Ababa have called for and started a strike that will last for two days. As the news of strike started circulating, Transport Authority announced its plan to postpone the implementation of the decree for three months to ‘create awareness’ in advance” (…)”Fana Broadcasting Corporate, on its news feed, has interviewed people from the Associations of Taxi Owners where they claimed the strike was called without their consent and urged the drivers to end their strike and start serving the public immediately” (Zone 9, 29.02.2016).

“Taxis stopped operating on Monday morning, leaving the Addis Ababa city short of taxis. Long queues were observed throughout the city as passengers lined up for taxis this morning” (…)”Meanwhile, the Federal Transport Authority said it is putting on hold of the traffic bill for three months. The Authority will “postpone consideration of the bill until there is wider agreement on a solution,” it said in a written statement to the state owned radio” (Fantahun, 29.02.2016).

Addis Taxi Strike 2016. Gas Quejpg

The Law that the Taxi Drivers strike about:

“Taxi drivers in Addis Abeba and its surroundings are striking as of this morning against a new traffic regulation which started to be implemented as of Monday 22 February” (…)”In 2009 the Addis Abeba City Council favorably voted to ratify the new traffic regulation, Road Transport and Traffic Control Regulation. Following the 2009 ratification of the amended regulation, the Addis Abeba Transport Bureau (AATB) claims to have had discussions with taxi and city mid-bus owners’ associations as well as the society at large before reaching at the recent decision to implement to regulation, seen by many as too strict and unpractical” (…)”The Regulation stipulates a six month suspension of driving licenses and additional driving lessons for drivers who lost 14 -16 points due to previous offenses. A driver who has 17 -19 points deducted from his/her records will get his/her driving license suspended for a year; and any driver who gets 20 and above points deducted will have his/her driving license permanently revoked and can only re-apply for a fresh driving lessons after a gap of two years” (…)”AATB estimates that Addis Abeba is home to close to more than 4, 000 white minibuses, 8,000 blue minibuses and more than 500 mid-buses (known as Higer buses), all providing the much needed transport within the city and its environs. It is estimated that the blue and white minibuses together provide transport services to about 1.1 million commuters every day, while the 500 mid-buses transport no less than 700, 000 commuters. The Addis Abeba city bus enterprise operates more than 800 city busses that transport an estimated 1.2 – 1.3 million passengers per day” (Mahlet, 2016).

Some reasons why the strike happens:

“The latest strikes by taxi drivers is one among a growing opposition by Ethiopians against an oppressive minority government that’s facing resistance from all corners of the country. Regime’s forces on Monday reportedly detained several students who were showing their solidarity with the taxi drivers. The students were staging a protest in the sub divisions of the city called Ayer Tena and Awtobis Tera. Their whereabouts is not yet know” (ECADF Ethiopian News, 01.03.2016).

Addis Taxi Strike 02.03. 2016

More strikes not only Addis:

“Taxis and other vehicles of public transportation in several towns in the Oromia region surrounding the capital Addis Ababa went on a strike on Tuesday. Holeta, Burayu, Ginchi, Ambo, Woliso, Asela, Bale and Robe were some of the towns hit by a massive transportation crisis. Some of the towns began the strike on Monday, on the first day of strike by taxi drivers in the capital Addis Ababa that brought the city to a halt. Even the scooters, the widely used form of transport in the smaller towns, locally known as “bajaj” were not to be seen in the streets” (…)”The government announced that the new regulations has been suspended for three months but the drivers want it scrapped altogether” (ESTA News, 01.03.2016).

Ripple effect:

“Though many taxi drivers that talked to the Voice of America (VOA) Amharic Service correspondent Eskinder Frew were skeptical that the government would scrap the directive, they said they were obeying the orders passed by their union leaders” (…)”The EPRDF government, which is facing a stiff opposition in Oromia region, is facing numerous challenges, including violent clashes in Gonder, as well as in eastern and southeastern regions such as in Gambella. When news broke that the taxis were boycotting in Addis, many mistook as the last straw that broke the camel’s back” (VOA, 02.03.2016).

Taxi Strike Addis 2016 P2

This Taxi Strike is about a certain regulation and law that will make it harder for the Taxi driver and also more expensive. Also make a system where many will lose the license quick and take away the livelihood of the Taxi Drivers. This here proves that there is discontent between the professional drivers and the authorities; seems also to be based on old grudges as I am impressed to see the similarities between the 1998 strikes and the ones now. Not the ones in 1974 even if they are more “famous” and had a greater historical impact on Ethiopia. This one here is regulation and monetary matters, as it also was in 1974 when the oil-prices was high because of OPEC blockade; the issue know may also be because of high oil-prices in Ethiopia, but also because of the new law, and that was the same in 1998. There is not harmony between the government/authorities and the Taxi Drivers, as the strike seem to continue, it has been on the third day and I wonder how long they will continue. Especially since it now is also happening in other towns than in Addis Ababa. The interesting thing is to see how little international response it has gotten or in media in general on the outside of Ethiopia. Don’t you think?

Hope that was interesting, because it was for me! Peace.

Reference:

AllAfrica – ‘Ethiopia: New Traffic Regulations Trigger Taxi Drivers’ Strike’ (10.07.1998) link: http://allafrica.com/stories/199807100058.html

Andargachew, Tiruneh – ‘The Ethiopian Revolution 1974-1987: A Tranformation from an Aristocratic to a Totalitarian Autocracy” – (03.12.2009) Cambridge University Press

ESTA News – ‘Taxi strike in Oromia towns following a two day strike in the capital, cabs in Addis resume work Tuesday afternoon’ (01.03.2016) link: http://ethsat.com/taxi-strike-in-oromia-towns-following-a-two-day-strike-in-the-capital-cabs-in-addis-resume-work-tuesday-afternoon/

Fantahun, Arefayne – ‘Taxi drivers go on strike protesting traffic bill’ (29.02.2016) link: http://www.ethiopiaobserver.com/2016/02/taxi-drivers-go-on-strike-protesting-traffic-bill/

Mahlet, Fasil – ‘NEWS: ADDIS ABEBA AND ITS SURROUNDINGS HIT BY MASSIVE TAXI DRIVERS’ STRIKE’ (29.02.2016) link: http://addisstandard.com/news-addis-abeba-and-its-surroundings-hit-by-massive-taxi-drivers-strike/

Nugent, Paul – ‘Africa Since Independence’ (13.06.2012) – Palgrave Macmillan; 2nd edition edition

UNDP Emergency Unit for Ethiopia – ‘Monthly Situation Report for Ethiopia – July 1998’ (11.08.1998) link: http://reliefweb.int/report/eritrea/monthly-situation-report-ethiopia-july-1998

VOA/EthioMedia – ‘Taxis in Addis end strike after directive’s implementation postponed’ (02.03.2016) link: http://www.ethiomedia.com/1010ideas/5093.html

Zone 9 –‘Taxi Drivers of Addis Ababa on Strike’ (29.02.2016).

The Republic of South Sudan – The Reservations of the Government of the Republic of South Sudan on the “Compromise Peace Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan”, Juba 26th August 2015

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Press statement – SPLM/SPLA Posistion on Four Neighbouring States Meeting on 10th August 2015 in Kampala (14.08.2015)

splm-io-press-statement-on-kampala-proposal

Ref: RSS/PO/J/J.A.: “Note on the IGAD Proposed Compromise Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan” (letter between the President of South Sudan to the President of Ethiopia) – (03.08.2015)

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