Truck drivers’ strike at Malaba enters day three

Posted: 2022-01-05T09:29:11Z
Truck drivers’ strike at Malaba enters day three

A strike by Truck drivers at Malaba border in Tororo district has gone into day three as they protest against the mandatory Ugx100,000 (3,600 Kshs.) fee charged for COVID-19 testing as they cross to the Ugandan side. 

The silent strike started on Monday and this saw drivers park their trucks and seal off the road vowing not to cross to the Ugandan side until government harmonizes their positions on either reducing the charges or scrap it off completely like it’s done in other countries.    

The drivers who are destined to various countries claim that the COVID-19 testing fee levied on them disregards the spirit of the East African Community integration of a common practice in all the member states.

"We are not completely opposed to the charges but we are saying it should be made affordable or even consider scrapping it completely as it's being done on the Kenyan side," one of the affected drivers noted.

They add that it is unreasonable that they undergo COVID-19 testing as they leave Mombasa but on crossing to the Ugandan side the health authorities at Malaba disregard the COVID-19 test result and subject them to fresh test at a fee. 

According to Paul Kibii a public health officer Port Health Services at Malaba on the Kenyan side, the drivers have made a case and their complaints are valid because they undergo testing before setting off from Kenya. 

"We as Port Health authorities of Kenya give accurate COVID-19 results because the laboratories we use are accredited by the World Health Organization therefore they are so reputable that they expect no doubt on the results," said Kibii.    

Port Health authorities at Malaba Uganda have declined to comment but an officer at the border who preferred anonymity said they are considering some of the tests, but added that some of the drivers have fake results.