NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – Truck drivers stuck along Bungoma-Malaba highway in the Kenya-Uganda border are decrying frustration by the Ugandan authorities over a lengthy waiting period at the border post as a result of slow COVID-19 screening procedures.
The drivers staged a protest on Sunday citing persecution and increased suspicion, with some saying they have had to wait for as long as a week before being cleared to proceed to Uganda.
“Whenever we go, we are told we have coronavirus, we wondering what is the point of being tested, the hotels have been closed for us and whenever we try to prepare our food, our gas cylinders are snatched from us and sometimes, food and other goods stolen from us,” a driver told Citizen Television.
The truckers said delayed processing of COVID-19 tests has negatively impacted their businesses urging the government to intervene and resolve the standoff.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman Sunday noted that the border standoff is a sensitive matter which will be resolved amicably by Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Yoweri Museveni.
This issue affects our relationship with our neighbours and also impacts trade, it’s a matter which is being discussed at a very high level between our presidents,” he said during the daily briefing on COVID-19.
During his 14th address on COVID -19 on May 19, President Museveni announced new measures which will see all truck drivers tested before entering into the country unlike before when they received the results after crossing the border.
“We shall now not allow lorry drivers to enter the country until their results are out,” he noted adding that testing at the borders will be expedited.
He, however dismissed the proposal to stop truck drivers from getting into Uganda citing their importance to the country’s economy.
“These lorries are transporting the most important products for Ugandans including the masks, PPEs, raw materials, agricultural produce, defence weapons, medical products. Therefore, It is a wrong strategy to block cargos,” Museveni remarked.