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INCITEMENT

Malaba border standoff caused by inciters - CS Macharia

Three drivers arrested for inciting others to block the border point.

In Summary

• Drivers said they had issues with the Covid-19 testing protocols at the border point.

• CS says four trucks that had blocked the main entry point had been cleared.

Transport CS James Macharia at Afya House on May 26, 2020.
Transport CS James Macharia at Afya House on May 26, 2020.
Image: MERCY MUMO

The government has cleared four trucks that were blocking the Malaba border entry point, EAC CS Aden Mohammed has said.

He said officers at the point have been instructed to work on a 24-hour basis to ease movement.

This comes after truck drivers blocked the Malaba-Webuye highway, protesting over what they termed verbal and physical abuse by the Ugandan military.

The drivers said they also had issues with the Covid-19 testing protocols at the border point.

The minister said four trucks that had blocked the main entry point had been cleared.

“We expect to take between four to five days before things resume to normalcy,” he said.

Adan said the traffic caused by the blockage had stretched over 50km.

“This is an immediate and urgent issue being dealt with because Mombasa port serves the entire region. We are doing all we can to ensure we have a seamless interaction between EAC member states,” he said.

The government further dismissed claims that the situation had been caused over complaints of testing protocols.

Transport CS James Macharia said some three drivers had incited others to cause the traffic.

“It is not about testing protocols. It is a few elements who incited other drivers by blocking the main entry to the border creating a 50km jam,” Macharia said.

He said the government has stepped up measures to ensure the border points remain open and operational.

“We have identified and narrowed down to the three culprits and they will be dealt with in accordance with the law,” he said.

The CS added, “We are telling our drivers if you know you will encounter trouble at the border point, please don’t leave your point of departure, ensure you have met all laid down requirements to allow quick clearance”.

Macharia said Malaba is critical to the country because it is the main entry to the Great Lakes region that accounts for 30 per cent of the cargo that comes from Mombasa.

“The same reason we are telling our drivers before leaving points of departure they must produce Covid-19 certificate 48 hours before departure. This will play a key role in ensuring a seamless interactions across East Africa,” he said.

He said a similar issue was witnessed at the Namanga border point but after a meeting with their Tanzania counterparts, the issues were resolved.

I had a meeting with the Regional Coordinators from Coast, Nyanza and Rift Valley together with our counterparts from Tanzania and signed an Mou sorting out the disparities raised with regards to the testing protocols,” he said.