Kenyan truck drivers have decried tough conditions on the road after they were denied entry into Rwanda.
In a video seen by Kenyans.co.ke, the truckers voiced complaints of stigmatisation and that they had been deliberately denied access to sanitation and food by authorities at the Uganda-Rwanda border post of Mirama Hills in Ntungamo District, Uganda.
A majority of them revealed that they had camped for three weeks by the roadside.
"We are not supposed to go to hotels. Even if you have a pain you cannot go to the shop to buy medicine," a driver narrated.
"They are calling us corona. We have all the required certificates. We don't have anything to eat. We don't have toilets. We are suffering here," a second driver stated.
"When they see these little boys coming to sell us eggs, they chase them away. They don't want them to sell anything to us," another added.
Ntungamo Resident District Commissioner George Bakunda while addressing the media stated that the truck drivers had become a challenge, further noting that they would be forced to move them to a designated location if the situation is not resolved in time.
"These drivers are becoming a bit of a challenge for us to manage because some of them we are not sure of their Corona status," Bakunda stated.
Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, Truckers Association of Kenya Secretary General Kennedy Karisa stated that some countries had taken the risk-averseness too far massively impacting inter-country trade.
'Every country wants to protect itself but it does not mean that you stop trade. Some countries are taking tough measures," he stated, further noting that it would work to their advantage in containing the virus but be a disadvantage as the two nations (Rwanda and Uganda) are landlocked and depend on the port of Mombasa.
"Yesterday I had vehicles that had carried carrots that were denied entry. They are perishable. So we need help from our government. The ministry of foreign affairs should come in and we work out an agreement," Karisa stated, noting that the resolutions of the EAC leaders meeting convened by President Paul Kagame on Tuesday, May 12, seemed to not have been communicated to border officers.
"Officials at the border say they have not received any communication. They say they are working with the previous communication they had," he added.
The Kenya Transporters Association (KTA) had written to Rwandan President Paul Kagame over prohibitive Covid-19 measures that have made business extremely difficult.
In the letter dated Wednesday, May 13, the truckers lamented over the Rwandese government's adoption of relay driving to prevent drivers from other countries from getting into Rwanda and only allowing the designated ones in.
The KTA told Kagame that the arrangement posed challenges and a risk to the drivers and their cargo thereby making many of them shun cargo bound for Rwanda.
The truckers called for Kagame to apply the same measures as other East African countries that test drivers at borders before allowing them into the country to deliver cargo instead of barring foreign drivers from getting into the country.
Video: NTV Uganda