The Foreign Affairs State Minister, Henry Okello Oryem, says the incidents cited in the note are isolated cases and not the official position of Uganda.
Note Verbale on Truck Drivers - 2_05_2020-2.pdf (1)-1
The National Covid19
Task Force is scheduled to discuss ways of resolving complaints of hostilities directed
at foreign truck drivers raised by the Kenyan High Commission. This follows a
protest note issued by the Kenyan High Commission in Kampala indicating that
Kenyan truck drivers are being harassed and treated in an inhumane manner whenever
they step foot in Uganda.
The May 02nd,
2020 note indicates that the drivers who are only allowed to stop at designated
points are not allowed to access basic services like food, water and even
accommodation. It also indicates that the drivers are becoming objects of scorn
and suspicion and stigma to the extent that even the public shouts corona while
referring to the truckers as the virus.
The High commission also observed that the drivers are also being treated as if
they are under quarantine and the facility being their own trucks. Now, URN has
learnt that Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kuteesa has met with the Kenyan High
Commission and agreed that Uganda values the truck drivers.
The Foreign Affairs
State Minister, Henry Okello Oryem, says the incidents cited in the note are
isolated cases and not the official position of Uganda. “They finally agreed
that these were isolated cases and it will be resolved, and this will be an
issue of sensitisation”, Oryem said on phone.
He says the matter
will be discussed extensively by the National Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday,
to see how to send out messages so that foreign truck drivers including Kenyans
are respected. Oryem says Uganda values truck drivers, which explains why they
haven’t been stopped. He says the East African Ministers of Health have also
held a meeting to come up with guidelines on handling truck drivers.
Of the 116 COVID-19
positive cases in Uganda, 56 are truck drivers mostly from Kenya and Tanzania.
There have been several calls by Ugandans to stop truck drivers to contain the
spread of the virus. However, President
Museveni has repeatedly dismissed the calls, saying doing this is suicidal
since there is no other alternative means of delivering essential goods to Uganda,
which is land locked.
In his address during
the second national prayer on Saturday, Museveni said East African leaders are
working on a joint effort to test truck drivers.