Kenyan truck drivers have asked the government to consider establishing a temporary port at the border with Uganda to enable them avoid the movement restrictions within the landlocked State.
The Kenya Long Distance Truck Drivers and Allied Workers Union Secretary General Nicholas Mbugua wants cargo offloaded at the border saying administrative measures taken by Uganda to curb spread of Covid-19 are discriminatory, unfair and unwarranted.
“Since the Ugandan authorities cannot trust the tests being conducted by Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta should now consider setting up a temporary port at Busia and Malaba borders where our drivers can offload their products for their counterparts in Uganda to deliver to the final destination,” he told Business Daily on phone.
Uganda has in recent weeks tightened its entry rules after about seven of Kenyan truck drivers tested positive for Covid-19.
President Yoweri Museveni has ruled out banning the Kenyan truck drivers but has hinted to restricting their access to hotels and accommodation facilities, saying the drivers may have to carry their own food and sleep in their vehicles.
“It is unjustifiable that Kenyan drivers are being mistreated and labelled carriers of coronavirus in the Ugandan territories,” said Mr Mbugua.
He termed the long process of testing long-distance drivers as tiresome and emotionally draining for the motorists who have to queue along a 40-kilometre stretch.
“To make it worse, the drivers have no turnboys who can assist them take care of their cargo trucks and carry out repairs should the vehicles get mechanical problems,” added Mr Mbugua.
He however pointed out that they (truck drivers) are ready to abandon the route if Uganda insists on introducing unrealistic demands.
“We need each other in this trade and Uganda should stop treating Kenyans with contempt as if the disease originated from our country,” he said.