Breaking

Gov’t to Address Hostility towards Foreign Truck Drivers

The Foreign Affairs State Minister, Henry Okello Oryem, says the incidents cited in the note are isolated cases and not the official position of Uganda.
Note Verbale on Truck Drivers - 2_05_2020-2.pdf (1)-1
The National Covid19 Task Force is scheduled to discuss ways of resolving complaints of hostilities directed at foreign truck drivers raised by the Kenyan High Commission. This follows a protest note issued by the Kenyan High Commission in Kampala indicating that Kenyan truck drivers are being harassed and treated in an inhumane manner whenever they step foot in Uganda.  

The May 02nd, 2020 note indicates that the drivers who are only allowed to stop at designated points are not allowed to access basic services like food, water and even accommodation. It also indicates that the drivers are becoming objects of scorn and suspicion and stigma to the extent that even the public shouts corona while referring to the truckers as the virus.

The High commission also observed that the drivers are also being treated as if they are under quarantine and the facility being their own trucks. Now, URN has learnt that Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kuteesa has met with the Kenyan High Commission and agreed that Uganda values the truck drivers.  

The Foreign Affairs State Minister, Henry Okello Oryem, says the incidents cited in the note are isolated cases and not the official position of Uganda. “They finally agreed that these were isolated cases and it will be resolved, and this will be an issue of sensitisation”, Oryem said on phone.   

He says the matter will be discussed extensively by the National Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday, to see how to send out messages so that foreign truck drivers including Kenyans are respected. Oryem says Uganda values truck drivers, which explains why they haven’t been stopped. He says the East African Ministers of Health have also held a meeting to come up with guidelines on handling truck drivers.

Of the 116 COVID-19 positive cases in Uganda, 56 are truck drivers mostly from Kenya and Tanzania. There have been several calls by Ugandans to stop truck drivers to contain the spread of the virus.  However, President Museveni has repeatedly dismissed the calls, saying doing this is suicidal since there is no other alternative means of delivering essential goods to Uganda, which is land locked. 

In his address during the second national prayer on Saturday, Museveni said East African leaders are working on a joint effort to test truck drivers.

Images 1

Keywords

Entities