By The Independent Reporter
Mr. Roy Puffet, was replaced as RVR`s CEO by Mr. Kevin White, an Australian under a new deal that a Kenyan-led management team claimed would turn around the ailing concession. Under the deal announced on August 7, RVR entered a Technical Service Agreement (TSA) with PDL Toll Holding that also wanted RVR changed from a concessionaire into a holding company. RVR was formed out of Sheltam pty of South Africa 61%; Mirambo holdings of Tanzania 10%, Prime fuels of Kenya 15%, Comazar 10% a sister company to Sheltam and CDIO 10%.
When RVR took over URC total cargo tonnage hauled from Mombasa to Kampala was an average of 80,000 Metric Tones (MT) every month, this has since reduced to less than 30,000MT per month. In a meeting in RVR (U) boardroom in April, 2008, one Ferdie Bourkes, a South African from RVR (K) was put to task by RVR (U) staff to explain why cargo flow to Uganda was declining each passing day. He replied: ‘Such decline in flow of traffic to Uganda should not be expected to improve because operations into Uganda are non-profit making’.
He lost his job for his frankness. When RVR took over, URC had 53 locomotives all functional with 20 of them parked as reserve fleet. Today only 4 are serviceable. This is not the first time Uganda is getting a raw deal from a joint venture by her sister East African countries.
In November 2007, in a speech read for him at the 1st anniversary of RVR in Kampala, Minister Nasasira accused RVR of ‘concentrating more in Kenya’.
On June 7,08 in a joint crisis meeting over RVR chaired by Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga, RVR was given up to October 31 to either normalise service or be kicked out of the concession . Over the same period, RVR was to raise US$ 40 million as new investment into the venture. To date in spite of Uganda’s Charles Mbire being nominated in August as an executive member on the RVR board nothing has been done to improve cargo delivery to Uganda yet over 700 URC wagons are being used to ferry cargo between Kenyan towns and industries.