By Frank Kamuntu
Top Kenyan and Ugandan security officials flew to Malaba border on Tuesday morning to solve a mounting crisis after truck drivers staged a strike and refused to drive on, hence blocking roads as they protested what they termed as harassment by Ugandan authorities.
TheSpy Uganda has learnt that the drivers have since blocked roads for several days now and are demanding intervention from Nairobi and president Museveni himself who gave ‘directives’.
A team of security officials from Kenya led by Administration Police boss Noor Gabow and General Service Unit (GSU) commandant Douglas Kanja met the drivers on Tuesday with hopes to solve the crisis. They were accompanied by almost a dozen mechanics to help in removing the trucks intentionally parked on the roads.
A senior officer in the team said the protests amount to economic sabotage but hoped the problem would be solved amicably as soon as possible.
The development came after the truckers defied the Malaba Border deal, prompting the state to extend COVID-19 testing for all motorists entering Uganda from Kenya.
“The 25 new corona cases push count closer to 1,000 mark. We may be forced to remove them one by one to a safer place as the issues at hand are being solved,” said the officer.
The drivers parked fuel tankers at the border last week, blocking entry and exit of any truck from Kenya and Uganda in protest against the working conditions that they claim are hampering their operations, especially in Uganda.
Majority of the drivers claim they have gone without food for several days and spend a lot of money as they wait for their Coronavirus test results at various border points.
Cargo trucks are also ined up in four lanes, completely sealing off the Bungoma-Malaba highway between Malaba and Amagoro, a distance of about seven kilometres.
Truckers demand assurance from President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni that what they term as constant harassment which they suffer while in Uganda will stop.
Meanwhile, this comes at a time when Uganda just confirmed 253 cases of COVID-19 after registering more new 31 cases.
Among the new cases, 23 are from the Points of Entry while 8 new cases are contacts to previously confirmed truck drivers and all the contacts were under quarantine at the time of test.
According to the Ministry of Health, 20 positive foreign truck drivers (16 Tanzanians and 4 Kenyans) were handed over to their country of origin
Uganda tested 896 samples from Points of Entry; samples from community and contacts were 220, out of 1116 which were the total samples tested on Tuesday, with a COVID-19 Recoveries remaining at 69.