While the move is aimed at solving the COVID-19 equation, it has become a burden to truck drivers, according to the Uganda Truck Drivers Association because countries doubt the results issued by other jurisdictions. They add that because of that, drivers from all over East Africa are stuck at points of entry with cargo.
More than 500 trucks are
currently stuck at different points of entry within the East African Community
because countries within the bloc do not trust COVID-19 test results from the
Countries within the East African
Community bloc began testing drivers who enter and leave the country from the borders.
In Uganda, tests are being conducted at Elegu in Northern Uganda and Mutukula
in Southern Uganda, at the Tanzanian Border.
While the move is aimed at solving
the COVID-19 equation, it has become a burden to truck drivers, according to
the Uganda Truck Drivers Association because countries doubt the results issued
by other jurisdictions. They add that
because of that, drivers from all over East Africa are stuck at points of entry
Byron Kinene, the chairperson of
the Uganda Truck Drivers Association says that the lack of trust among EAC member
countries is hurting businesses across the region.
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Cue out...Ugandan results.”//
The mistrust of results is being
attributed to a scenario where a Kenyan driver last week tested positive for
COVID-19 in Uganda but on returning to Kenya tested negative for the disease. The Tanzanian government equally says that a
number of drivers who tested positive in Kenya posted a negative result in
According to Kinene, some drivers
have been stuck at points of entry since Sunday because their results have not
yet been released. Instead, he says, they are being exposed to the disease due
to the poor surveillance at border points.
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Cue out...be affected.”//
An official for another long-distance transport agency that wanted to remain anonymous says the double
testing that is currently taking place is slowing business. He says they are
spending up to three days on routes that ordinarily are supposed to take a day.
According to truck drivers, Kenya began mandatory testing in Kisumu with results supposed to be released
within 48 hours. However, when the drivers get to Uganda, they are tested
again. The same happens for drivers who leave Uganda for neighbouring countries.
“Kenya is not allowing Uganda’s results and
Uganda too is not allowing those from Kenya. This is a problem. Right now I
have ten loaded vehicles on the Kenyan-side and seven that left yesterday. This
is slowing down business,” the source said.
But the Ugandan Minister of Health, Dr Jane
Ruth Aceng says that the East Africa countries are yet to decide on
standardized testing for the community.
//Cue in; “There are
Cue out...the 29th.”//
The truck drivers now want a meeting with the Minister of Works and Transport to revise some of the
measures that have been suggested to enable the easy flow of
traffic at the border.
The Head of states of Uganda,
Kenya, Rwanda and South Sudan last week held a virtual summit and decided that
all truck drivers within the region should be tested for COVID-19 in their
countries and those who test negative issued certificates that enable transport
In addition to this, testing is supposed to be
done jointly by health workers deployed by both concerned countries so that the
procedure can be observed. Truck drivers were also supposed to be tested 24
hours before departing a country of origin and the tests repeated every after
14 days. But according to Dr Aceng, some of the decisions that were agreed upon
are yet to be finalized.