“As a community, we feel it is not safe for us but, we can’t do anything about it because those engaged in this business are powerful people. These youths plant Jerry cans in front of our shops and whenever trucks make stop overs. An average of 10 boys gather to interact with the drivers as they siphon fuel,” he said.
The practice of siphoning fuel from trucks has frustrated efforts to minimise contact between youths and truck drivers along highways in
Busoga region exposing them to Covid19 infection.
Despite the fact that the Works and Transport Ministry directed
that all transit trucks park at Nakalama trading
center along Jinja-Busia highway, a trip along the highway shows that truck
drivers still park in ungazeted areas where they freely mingle with communities.
The truck drivers park in Naluwerere, Busowa, Idudi, Waina, Musita, Magamaga,
Wairaka and Bugembe town council. However, in all these trading centers youth
stop the truck drivers to negotiate and syphon fuel from their trucks.
Isoke, a trader from Bulanga trading center told URN that youths station jerry
cans at different points as a means of notifying truck drivers about safe
“As a community, we
feel it is not safe for us but, we can’t do anything about it because those engaged
in this business are powerful people. These youths plant Jerry cans in front of
our shops and whenever trucks make stop overs. An average of 10 boys gather to
interact with the drivers as they siphon fuel,” he said.
A fuel trader at Naluwerere trading center, who spoke to URN on condition of
anonymity, said “we have been doing business with them for a long time, and
some of these truck drivers actually have families here who act as their
immediate agents in this trade. I don’t think they can infect us with that
corona virus because they are checked at the boarder points.”
Another fuel dealer from Magamaga trading center, said they use mobile money
transactions to minimise the risk of corona virus infection. “These drivers are
clad in their facial masks and we have mobilised all our boys to use mobile
money platforms while making payments. So when a driver confirms receipt of the
money, he moves on and there is no risk of infection at all,” he said.
Emmy Mitala, the Mayuge Deputy Resident District Commissioner, says that some
truck drivers fake breakdowns to conduct their trade unnoticed. “You find
trailers in all trading centers with mechanics who at times remove all the
front tyres, pretending to repair a damaged vehicle yet in actual sense they
are not repairing vehicles but rather siphoning fuel,” he said.
Mitala says they had initially backed on the National Covid19 Taskforce to
easily monitor the movement of the drivers. He however, said upon realizing
gaps, police and UPDF personnel have been deployed to fill the gap.
//Cue in: “We put a…
Cue out…the main road,”.
James Mubi, the Busoga East Region Police Spokesperson, says traffic officers
have been deployed in all risk areas to ensure that trucks don’t park in nongazetted