Museveni Bows to Pressure After Kenyan Truck Drivers Protest

  • Uganda President Yoweri Museveni (left) and trucks stuck at Busia border
    Uganda President Yoweri Museveni (left) and trucks stuck at Busia border
    File
  • The Government of Uganda, headed by President Yoweri Museveni, has given in to some of the demands raised by Kenyan truck drivers at the Busia border.

    A Kenyan government publication released on Tuesday, January 18, indicated that Ugandan authorities confirmed that they would double the number of health personnel deployed at the border to hasten the Covid-19 testing process.

    Only 50 workers had been deployed to handle hundreds of truck drivers leading to traffic snarl-up stretching as far as 80kms. 100 health workers from Uganda will now be sent to the border to solve the crisis. 

    Uganda was further reported to have agreed to accept the Covid-19 certificates issued by Kenya's Ministry of Health. 

    Kenya-Uganda border crossing post in Busia County.
    Kenya-Uganda border crossing post in Busia County.
    File

    "Uganda has agreed to double the number of health officers at the Busia and Malaba border posts as part of efforts to clear the backlog of trucks. 

    "It also committed to recognising the Covid-19 test certificate that shall be issued by Kenya's Ministry of Health with a validity period of 72 hours using either PCR or Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT) testing protocols," read the report in part.

    Initially, the standoff was occasioned by Uganda's unwillingness to accept Covid-19 certificate from the Kenyan government and its insistent that a second, costly test be done by its authorities. Uganda charges the drivers Ksh3,500 per test.

    The Kenyan Government, on the other hand, agreed to boost efforts to clear the truck backlog at the border by deploying 15 additional health workers to hasten the testing process.

    The state also promised to furnish the workers with additional RDT equipment to expedite the exercise. 

    Protests by the drivers threatened trade between the two countries. Uganda is already reeling from increased fuel prices after transporters got stuck at the border.

    Initially, Museveni had intervened by listing health facilities and increasing testing laboratories across the region where the drivers entering Uganda would undergo tests. 

    His order was effected on Saturday, January 1, affecting many truck drivers and other businesspeople travelling into the East African country. 

    The drivers refused to pay the required Ksh3,500 to Ugandan authorities hence worsening the crisis. 

    "The East African Community member states agreed that drivers who have been tested in any member state be given a certificate whose validity is 14 days, and that those with valid certificates are free to move within the EAC region," Kennedy Osia, the chair of Skyward Clearing and Forwarding Company, argued. 

    Trucks held up at a traffic snarl-up along a highway.
    Trucks held up at a traffic snarl-up along a highway.
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