A truck pile-up started to build along the busy Eldoret-Malaba highway with heavy traffic from Kimaiti junction 15 KM from Malaba One Stop Border Post (OSBP).
Long-distance truck drivers showed dissatisfaction with the system that has always been the cause of snarl-up urging the government to upgrade to digital scanners to fasten the business between the East African communities and beyond.
Kenyan customs officials at the Malaba One Stop Border Post said the long jam was attributed to a system upgrade on the Uganda side, which has since been dispensed with, noting that normalcy will return in the next few hours.
Led by Mutisya Tavitha the truck drivers express their concerns while addressing the press in Amagoro today (Sunday), noting that they arrived in Amagoro at 12 am last night and by 2 pm on Sunday they haven’t made a single movement to confirm the magnitude of the matter.
“We are told the system is being upgraded on the Ugandan side of the border. We are not opposed to that, but Ugandan authorities should have found an alternative to prevent us from encountering the suffering and trauma we are encountering,” said Tavitha.
They now want a lasting solution to the constant trucks piling up along the Northern corridors of Malaba and Busia in conformity with the East African Protocol that entails a smooth flow of goods and services devoid of Non-tariff barriers.
“We have been stuck here for over 15 hours, less obvious that our families need us. What happens to those who are in Kanduyi? How many days will it take to reach Malaba border? He wondered.
His sentiments were echoed by Titus Karani who blasted some officers at the custom who demand money from drivers to expedite clearance while some businessmen in Kenya also influence the existence of artificial snarl-ups to boost their trade, urging Kenyan President William Ruto and his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni to convene a meeting to address these teething challenges facing long-distance truck drivers.
Another driver, Kasamba Suleiman, who was transporting a container from Mombasa to Kampala, urged the two countries to come to their rescue to enable them to continue with their journey to their desired destinations.
“We have not taken a bath for over two days, and neither have we eaten. If you want to eat, it forces you to spend Ksh200 to send a boda boda to Malaba Uganda to buy posho/matoke and meat worth US$ 10,000. This is very expensive,” he said.
The worst jam that lasted several weeks was witnessed in January 2022 with traffic stretching over 70 kilometers following a protest by Kenyan truck drivers over Uganda’s move to implement mandatory Covid-19 testing at its border and impose a charge of $30 for the test.
Although Uganda suspended the testing, the traffic jam created by the drivers’ strike took more than a week to clear.