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Could Museveni be plotting a Ruto, Uhuru handshake?

Could Uganda President Yoweri Museveni be plotting a political handshake between President William Ruto and his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta?

On August 13, 2023, Museveni, who’s ruled Uganda for close to four decades and is known to play an influential role
in regional diplomacy, met President Ruto for talks at State House, in Entebbe.

President Ruto also confirmed he met his Ugandan counterpart with talks between the two centering on security and trade.

The meeting between the two Heads of State comes barely a week after the Ugandan President met Mr Kenyatta at the same venue.

Mr Museveni explained he met Mr Kenyatta in his capacity as the facilitator of peace in Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

President Ruto and Mr Museveni have maintained a close relationship for the past decade and their latest meeting, the second in as many months, comes amid frosty relations between Mr Ruto and Mr Kenyatta.

President Ruto has consistently accused his predecessor, whom he served as Deputy President for a decade, of funding the recent anti-government protests that left scores dead, several others injured, and properties worth millions of shillings destroyed.

Mr Kenyatta has meanwhile accused the Ruto administration of watching on as his family property is destroyed.

He also recently hit out at Ruto’s government for harassing his immediate family.

This comes after unknown people, who are still at large, attacked the expansive Kenyatta family farm, destroyed property, and stole sheep.

Weeks later, the government withdrew the security detail of Mama Ngina Kenyatta, Uhuru’s mother who served as the country’s First Lady, and also attempted to withdraw guns held by Uhuru’s son Jomo.

Mr Kenyatta later told the media his successor had turned down a request to continue offering his three children state security for a year after he had left office.

The separate meetings between Mr Museveni, Mr Kenyatta, and Mr Ruto come at a time the Kenyan government has stopped issuing licenses to Brookside Diaries, a company associated with the Kenyatta family, to export milk products to Kenya.

Uganda and Kenya are strategic neighbours and business partners.

Landlocked Uganda mainly relies on Kenya’s Mombasa port for a direct route to the sea, while Kenya has in the past five years turned to Uganda for maize, milk and eggs, and fruits.

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