Drivers Complain About The Many Roadblocks Along The Kenya-Uganda border

Heavy commercial trucks along the Kenya-Uganda border

The truck drivers many of them ferrying petroleum and fresh produce among other items, claim the delays are causing them heavy losses and concerns from their employers when they fail to arrive on schedule

By The Weekly Vision Online

Long-distance truck drivers who just recently staged a blockade in Busia-Malaba in protest against Covid-19 test delays are now up in arms over police roadblocks along the international highway. According to many of the drivers, the police in Kenya and their counterparts in Uganda have become notorious for soliciting bribes at roadblocks leading to delays in the delivery of the cargo.

Some of the drivers claim many of the roadblocks are erected at random for a “limited period” to extort bribes! Those who refuse to “play ball” are held for hours as police make up one excuse after another as they seek easy cash from the crew. The truck drivers many of them ferrying petroleum and fresh produce among other items, claim the delays are causing them heavy losses and concerns from their employers when they fail to arrive on schedule.

Traders accuse police of constant harassment through roadblocks that keep “mushrooming” along the international corridor making trade and transport business an expensive enterprise

Inter trade in East Africa is largely supposed to be a “border-less” activity after the East African Community member states scrapped trade tariffs. But police and immigration officials from Kenya and Uganda are said to be the major stumbling block to the strengthening of East African regional cooperation.

Traders accuse police of constant harassment through roadblocks that keep “mushrooming” along the international corridor making trade and transport business an expensive enterprise. “How do we explain to our employers’ the huge sums of money paid as a bribe?” wondered one of the truck drivers in Busia. “And why are we bribing, what wrong have we committed?” he fumed.

At one time both Uganda president Yoweri Museveni and Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta blamed police and immigration officials for undermining inter-border trade. The two leaders have on several occasions exchanged visits to strengthen regional trade. Museveni has been in Mombasa and boarded the SGR train to Naivasha. While Kenyatta has visited Kampala several times to oversee the family dairy flagship Brookside that now sells milk in Uganda.

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