President Uhuru Kenyatta says Kenyans and Ugandans need not look at each other as competitors but rather as complementing each other to compete favourably with the rest of the world.
Addressing the Kenyan diaspora in Kampala, Uganda on Sunday, President Kenyatta said the key to unlocking the East African Community potential lies with its leaders and the people.
“You are in the frontline of furthering and deepening the partnership that exists between our two countries,” the President told thousands of Kenyans who had turned up at the Hotel to acknowledge his greetings.
The head of state noted that Kenya and Uganda enjoyed unique relations necessary for residents to forge business partnerships that create more opportunities and grow the economy.
“We cannot separate from one another, our borders are such that communities do not recognize boundaries that were created by the colonialists,” he said.
The President said he is keenly following up the issue of integration as it is the one which will ultimately deliver the region and Africa at large from the yoke of economic strangulation.
“For a long time as Africans we have been affected by the disease caused by the Europeans of being told of our differences. Not only that you are Kenyan but reminding us of our tribal backgrounds; we forgot that they were reminding us of our tribal differences so as to continue dominating us,” said the President.
He added that Kenyans and other East African citizens need to take up similar steps and do away with artificial boundaries which have become more of an obstacle rather than a source of prosperity.
“As a people we must recognize that our strength lies in our unity, our strength lies in us being able to work together as one people, our problems can only be resolved by working together,” said President Kenyatta.
He also challenged government bureaucrats to stop being an impediment to regional efforts of integration and instead facilitate wananchi to move freely and do business with one another.
He said bureaucrats are endangering the stability of the region by putting obstacles to integration as the large EAC youth population can easily be misused for destructive activities.
“You who are in positions of leadership in government should never look at the narrow aspect of doing things. You should not look at a Ugandan coming to Kenya or a Kenyan going to Uganda as an individual who has come to take jobs for your citizens, You should instead see how you can facilitate our people and the region to become globally competitive. Look at how you can help Ugandan and Kenyan business community to be globally competitive to create jobs for our youth,” President Kenyatta added.
Others who spoke during the meeting were Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Cabinet Secretary Amb. Amina Mohammed, Leader of the Majority in Parliament Aden Duale and Nairobi Senator Mike Mbuvi Sonko.