Kenya is seeking fresh negotiations with Rwandan and Ugandan traders as the government seeks to cut the compensation bill arising from the post-election violence that rocked the country eight years ago.
The traders, through regional lobby East African Business Council (EABC), had earlier settled for Sh4.75 billion ($47.5 million) after the Kibaki administration convinced them to drop their bid to challenge Kenya in an international court.
The deal was brokered some time in 2012, just months before Mr Kibaki’s term ended. At the time, Mr Kibaki served as the chairperson of the East African Community’s head of state summit.
While the Treasury has not stated publicly why it has not honoured the deal, there has been grumbling that some traders may have overstated their losses.
Traders from the two landlocked states, which rely on Mombasa port for imports and exports, initially estimated their losses in the 2007/8 skirmishes at Sh20 billion.
They have accused Kenya of putting their case on the back banner since Mr Kibaki left office. Only 13 traders; 12 from Uganda and one from Rwanda, managed to present evidence of losses incurred on the Kenyan soil leading to the drastic cut of the compensation bill to Sh4.75 billion.
The EABC said the number of traders with genuine cases has since risen to 16.
The corridor also serves northern Tanzania, DR Congo and South Sudan, which reflects Kenya’s major role in regional trade.
Last week, Deputy President William Ruto reportedly directed Treasury secretary Henry Rotich to convene another meeting with EABC “as soon as possible to solve the issue once and for all”.
The Kenyan team includes Internal Security secretary Joseph ole Nkaisserry, Attorney-General Githu Muigai and officials of other relevant agencies.
Mr Ruto reportedly named the team after the EABC officials paid a courtesy call at his Karen residence.
In a statement, the EABC said it also requested Kenya to guarantee the regional business community that it will enhance security of property transiting through the country during the coming election in 2017.