Busia border standoff ends as truck drivers agree to resume work
A stand-off between border officials and long-distance drivers over Covid-19 tests at Malaba border in Busia County has been solved, East Africa Community ministry Principal Secretary Kevit Desai has said.
He said truck drivers who went on strike to protest the way Covid-19 tests were carried out would resume work following a six-hour meeting.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, Desai said complaints which had been raised by the drivers would be addressed.
He said drivers who will be tested for coronavirus in Kenya will not be tested again in Uganda adding that the same will apply to drivers who are tested in Uganda heading to Kenya.
“Truck drivers who will be tested in Kenya will not be tested again in Uganda and the same will apply to drivers who are tested in Uganda heading to Kenya,” said the PS.
He said that leaders from Kenya and Uganda had agreed to address the drivers’ complaints.
Desai said the presidents of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have been holding discussions to ensure trade continues within the three states.
Transport PS Solomon Kitur said fighting the pandemic at the borders should be a collective responsibility.
The standoff caused a 40-kilomtre snarl-up on the Malaba—Bungoma highway. Among the drivers’ complaints was what they cited as mistreatment in Uganda.
They cited an incident where one of their colleagues, who tested positive for coronavirus, was allegedly held in a room in Uganda without food and was not unattended to by health staff.
They claimed the driver was only being sprayed with disinfectants.
“We are tired of being harassed and mistreated by Ugandans,” said Mohamed Juma, a driver.
They said they had been stigmatised in Uganda because of Covid-19 with some shopkeepers even declining to sell goods to them.