FIGHTING CORONAVIRUS

Uganda reopens border for cargo trucks

Move allows entry of essential goods coming from Kenya

In Summary

• Pedestrians from Kenya are still not allowed to enter Uganda.

• Travellers using private cars as and boda boda riders are also barred from travelling into Uganda.

Trucks cross the Malaba border into Kenya. The border had partially been closed on Sunday.
TOUGH MEASURES: Trucks cross the Malaba border into Kenya. The border had partially been closed on Sunday.
Image: EMOJONG OSERE

The Ugandan government has reopened its border with Kenya — a day after it shut operations — to allow cargo truck drivers to supply essential goods. 

The Ugandan government closed all its borders on Sunday to contain the spread of coronavirus. The first Covid-19 patient was reported in the country on Saturday. 

On Monday, Ugandan nationals were trapped in Kenya but Ugandan security officers could not allow them to proceed home.

 

The partial border closure is among a raft of actions Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni announced on Saturday. 

“Humans crossing into Uganda from the different border points are prohibited going forward.

“This is until we find a co-ordination plan at the East African level. Please stay where you are. We are not against anyone but this is about manageability,” Museveni said. 

 

On Sunday all cargo trucks destined for Uganda were parked on the Kenyan side of the border.

Clearing agents protested the move to suspend border operations.

They said they had been told the border closure would not affect the trucks but they were surprised when cargo haulage was also stopped.

Malaba Clearing Agents chairman Kennedy Osiya said they were caught unawares. 

 

On Monday morning a long queue of trucks lined up along the busy Malaba-Bungoma highway due to slow clearance at the border.

Uganda said truck drivers and their turn-boys would be thoroughly screened before being allowed to continue with the journey to its interior parts.

Most businesses in Malaba town are recording low activity due to the border closure to pedestrians.

“There are no Ugandans crossing yet they are some of our regular clients,” Edward Wachiye said. 

Wachiye runs a cyber café and an M-Pesa shop about 50 metres away from Malaba Kenya’s Immigration Department offices.

“We hope they will contain this disease fast so that business returns to normal,” he said. 

On Sunday Busia county commissioner Joseph Kanyiri said Kenya had also put stringent measures to control movement from Uganda. 

Kanyiri said only trucks carrying goods will be allowed to cross the border into Uganda or to enter Kenya. 

He said the long-distance trucks will be occupied by a driver and turn-boy only.

The county commissioner cautioned Kenyans who will flout the travel ban that they will be subjected to forced self-quarantine.

“I urge Kenyans to remain in their country until the end of this threatening pandemic,” he said.

(edited by o. owino)