The Reporter (Addis Ababa)

Ethiopia: Kenya Closer to Ratifying the CFA Bill On the Nile

Kenya's president, Uhuru Kenyata, expressed that his country is closer to the final steps of ratifying the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) on the equitable and fair utilization of the Nile River that was signed by upper stream nations.

Despite the CFA having been signed by seven of the lower stream nations in Entebe, Uganda in 2010, only Ethiopia and Rwanda have so far ratified the bill. Meanwhile, other signatory nations including Burundi, Tanzania and late joining member, South Sudan have similarly said the status of ratifying the bill going to the final stage, waiting for only the approval of their respective cabinets.

However, Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni reportedly opted to withhold the bill "until Egypt restores its order and stable administration."

"We are all committed to ensuring that it is implemented in the shortest possible time despite some hurdles. Along the way ultimately this will create an environment at least that will help us move in the same direction," Kenyatta said. "So, Kenya is indeed committed and we hope we will be able to complete and implement it in the shortest possible time," he added.

After the president's remark at the press conference, the Kenyan Minister of Water, Irrigation and Environment, Professor Judi Kwanku told The Reporter that she hoped the CFI bill would be ratified in less than three weeks.

"We are coming to the conclusion as our situation requires it," she exclusively told The Reporter and indicated that it's her office that is responsible for the bill and regulates it.

She further indicated as she presented that she had already presented the bill before the Kenyan Cabinet of Ministers.

She noted that she requested the cabinet to ratify the CFA so that Kenya would follow Ethiopia and Rwanda's example. "Definitely in the coming three weeks we will be able to do so," Prof Judi confirmed.

The Kenyan Minister also confirmed her remarks to her Ethiopian counterpart, Alemayehu Tegenu, Minister of Water, Energy and Irrigation (MoWEI). Listening to the Kenyan Minister, Alemayehu immediately paid her a smiled appreciation emphasizing the endorsement of the agreement that will help member nations fairly utilize the Nile water as well as strength the relationships of these nations.

Asked about his reaction on Kenya's government status on the CFA, Alemayehu told The Reporter that he welcomes it warmly and hopes that the remaining signatory nation will follow Ethiopia and Rwanda's suit.

He also explains that he is aware that the status of the bill among the rest of the nations including Tanzania, Burundi and Uganda are progressing to their final step.

According to Alemayehu, even the newest African nation, South Sudan is also moving forward to get this bill ratified by its parliament. He further indicated that the status of the agreement was brought before the parliament before the nation fell in its internal crisis.

Had it not been forced to the conflict it (South Sudan) would have ratified this Cooperative Framework Agreement.

However, the minister, despite being pleased about the latest update in regards to the CFA status among the Nile riparian nations, particularly in the lower stream of the basin, did not boast to take it greedily "as Ethiopia's diplomatic effort".

This work is a collaborative effort for all of us. Since it is a common work, we are always working together. If need be, the credit shat should be fairly given is to the achievement of the cooperation that should be collectively credited to all of us.

We are of the belief that it will be fully successful ahead of time. It is understandable that such kinds of pacts or agreements that are signed among interstates cannot be determined unilaterally. It usually takes a longer amount of time for all signatory governments to get it ratified and incorporate it as their local proclamation or law. However, on our side the status of this CFA is found to be in good shape," the minister told The Reporter.

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