President Magufuli had to use some unconventional means to convince Uganda President Yoweri Museveni to dump Kenya and go with Tanzania in the oil pipeline deal.
This came to light over the weekend during the signing ceremony of the Hoima – Tanga pipeline deal in Dar es Salaam.
Addressing the audience, the Tanzanian leader revealed that he had to remind Museveni of his close friendship with Nyerere and how Tanzania helped him to get into power, and the blood Tanzanians shed for Uganda’s sake.
At a time when it really looked like Kenya would get the pipeline deal, Magufuli said that he picked up the phone and asked Museveni whether that was the way he wanted to repay Tanzanians for their sacrifice and friendship over the years.
He went on to state that he had almost given up on the deal, but that conversation with Museveni turned the tide.
He then listed the advantages of having the project in Tanzania as opposed to Kenya. He said that due to Tanzania’s terrain, the oil from Hoima to Tanga would largely flow through gravity, as opposed to Kenya where numerous booster/pumping stations were required along the way.
He also cited Tanzania’s laws that ensure the government is not required to pay for land compensation as opposed to Kenya, therefore decreasing the overall cost.
Finally he cited Tanzania’s political stability and security as more reason why the pipeline needed to avoid the Kenyan route.
Magufuli also spoke about the SGR Tanzania is preparing to build. He described its superiority over the Kenyan line, urging Museveni to re-consider and look south once again.
He concluded by saying that the pipeline deal was a big eye-opener and learning experience for them, particularly when it comes to international dealings.