Uganda and Tanzania conspired to deny Kenya an opportunity to present its findings before the Oil Pipeline route was decided Energy Cabinet Minister Charles Keter said.
Appearing before the nation’s Senate Energy Committee, the minister said his team was not even allowed to present its case which validly addressed Uganda’s concerns about the 13000 kilometer Hoima-Lokichar-Lamu pipeline route during the negotiations.
“We went to Tanzania with our technical team and we were kept there for a long time. The Tanzanian authorities gave us two options – either to reschedule the meeting or leave them to continue with negotiations with Uganda,” he said
Keter also reiterated the claim that Tanzania authorities denied his team entry into the port of Tanga during the fact finding assignment initiated by a meeting between Uganda President Yoweri Museveni and Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta. He said Uganda’s decision was predetermined one.
“The Tanzanians said our team was not welcome. We already knew Uganda’s decision so we did not bother so much,” he said.
The minister dismissed Uganda concerns on the security and terrain of the route as baseless. He said East Africa’s economic giant had planned stringent security measures to secure the line which has been viewed as susceptible to attacks by Somali based militia group al-Shabaab.
The group largely operates in North Eastern Kenya where the pipeline was proposed to pass
Kenya will then according to Keter independently construct its pipeline from oil-rich Turkana Valley to port Lamu port for refinery through two transit routes.
Kenya is also in talks with South Sudan and Ethiopia to implement the Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor project . Both nations had reportedly approached Kenya for the pipeline before the deal was mooted.
“We have been bending over backwards to accommodate our brothers but we will reach a time when we begin looking at our interests first,” he said.
Asked about the security of the proposed independent route, Keter said “There are plans for a military base between Kiunga and Boni forest while we will also be using drones to monitor the line,”