Kenyan Truck Drivers Protest Museveni Directive

A collage image of Kenyan Trucks at the Malaba border (Left) and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni (Right)
A collage image of Kenyan Trucks at the Malaba border (Left) and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni (Right).

Business at the Kenya-Uganda border at Malaba in Busia County came to a standstill after Kenyan truck drivers staged protests following President Yoweri Museveni's fresh directive.

While addressing the press on January 3, the drivers stated that they were denied entry into Uganda as they were required to have mandatory COVID-19 tests.

The drivers stated that the directive was unfair as they were required to conduct fresh tests at a cost of Ksh3,600 despite having negative test certificates.

The Kenya-Uganda Border Post.
The Kenya-Uganda Border Post.

"What we are witnessing here is discrimination because you can be tested here in Kenya and then when you get there you are informed that it is not valid.

"What used to happen is that once you had been tested, you could travel to Uganda and back using the same certificate," Chrispinus Omose, one of the truck drivers stated.

Additionally, the drivers added that some of them were denied entry despite showing proof that they had been fully vaccinated.

"We will understand if someone has not been tested and is required to be tested, but why is it that we are still required to be tested yet we even have vaccination certificates. Vaccination was brought to reduce the cost of having tests done all the time," Omose added.

Omose's sentiments were echoed by other drivers who insisted that they would not comply with the fresh directive from the Ugandan authorities, further urging the government to intervene.

They added that the move would impact the business between the two countries as some of them were transporting perishable goods to the neighboring country.

"Let the goods remain here so that they can come and take them from here. They are basically fleecing us because you cannot take money from us and there is nothing that we are getting in return," John Omondi, another truck driver stated.

On January 3, Museveni reviewed the containment measures in Uganda which were enforced in March 2020. As per the new directive, truck drivers are required to have mandatory tests at the border before accessing the country.

As the standstill continues, business between the two countries will be affected as Uganda is one of the leading trade partners of Kenya. Trucks play a key role in the transportation of goods between the two countries whose worth is estimated at billions.

Statistics by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics show that Kenya exported goods worth Ksh25.97 billion between April and July 2021. 

An image of Malaba Traffic Jam
Trucks lined up waiting for clearance at the Malaba border post.