President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni have struck a deal to end a costly standoff between government authorities and truck drivers running into weeks.
Ministers from Ugandan government met with those from Kenyan side in a bid to ease the stalemate that caused a near 40 Kilometre traffic snarl up that had stretched from Kanduyi to the Malaba border.
Kenya's Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia affirmed that after a series of talks, they moved to suspend the scanning of trucks and weigh-bridge services at the border.
"We have been meeting as ministers at EAC level, Transport level virtually for the past two to three weeks but the meetings have not born fruit," Macharia stated.
His Ugandan counterpart, Katumba Wamala noted that the decision would end the traffic snarl-up that had been a menace in the past few weeks.
"We have put in place some measures, one of them from Kenya side, the scanning won't be done because there has been a problem when you scan the drivers in Kenya while Uganda has the drive-through scanner. So it will be done on Ugandan side and vehicles will proceed," Wamala stated.
His sentiments were echoed by Uganda's trade minister, Harriet Ntabazi, who noted that they had put a target by Wednesday , January 26, to end the traffic snarl-up.
She pointed out that as a result, fuel prices would return to normal prices in Uganda.
"We have put a target by Wednesday, all the trucks will have entered the country and there will be no need to hike the fuel prices as it has been before," she stated.
Further, CS Macharia noted that security agencies had been briefed on the mistreatment of truck drivers. The CS added that he would meet with the security agencies every week in order to guarantee the safety of the truck drivers.
He also pointed out that the government would provide funds to expand roads leading to the border.
According to the Ugandan Transport Minister, the protocol to have drivers tested every 14 days would still be upheld.
He, however, guaranteed that truck drivers would not undergo double testing but urged them to be delivering products within that time.
The standoff, that has lasted for two weeks, saw the Kenyan drivers decline to pay Ksh3,000 in order to undertake mandatory tests at the border as directed by President Museveni.
This further led to a hike in fuel prices after truck drivers ferrying petroleum products went on strike at the Kenyan border.
Officials from the Ministry of Energy noted that some petrol stations were selling the product over UShs5,000 (Ksh160) per litre. In Kenya, a litre of super petrol goes for Ksh129.72, following a review by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority, (EPRA) that kept pump prices unchanged.