The hostility, they say, started with an increase in the number of Coronavirus cases recorded among truck drivers, mainly those entering the country from Kenya and Tanzania. In recent weeks, more than 100 truck drivers have tested positive to the virus, driving cases of coronavirus in the country now 248.
Truck drivers have expressed
dismay at the hostility subjected to them by communities along the along the
Eastern Route closer to the Uganda-Kenya border.
The hostility, they say, started
with an increase in the number of Coronavirus cases recorded among truck
drivers, mainly those entering the country from Kenya and Tanzania. In recent
weeks, more than 100 truck drivers have tested positive to the virus, driving
cases of coronavirus in the country now 248.
Kenya has recorded 887 cases of coronavirus
with more than 50 deaths, while Tanzania has 509 cases and 21 deaths. Until recently Uganda was allowing drivers to
continue with their journeys uninterrupted until their results are released by
the Uganda Virus Research Institute. They were however advised to park in
gazetted regional parking yards, in order to avoid contact with members of the
But despite the guidelines, a
number of them continued to make stopovers in trading centres, for refreshments,
bathroom moments and to fix their trucks, when they experience a problem on the
However, the stopovers have
become a nightmare for many of them. They say that residents are now chasing
them from almost every trading centre, accusing them of importing COVID-19. Those
who reside within the districts of Bugiri and Iganga say that their families have
equally turned them away and advised them to self-isolate.
Erisa Ofwoha, a driver from
Busowa village says that he resolved to spend his weekends in the parking yard due
to the fear of community reaction. “My neighbours who were once my friends
nowadays refer to me as coronavirus. Now the only way of saving my family from
public reproach,” he says.
Hussein Wegulo, a truck driver
from Buikwe district says that some residents pelt stones at them at
roundabouts and different security checkpoints. He says that even when they
opt to use mobile money transactions for purchases, they are forced to flee before
picking the goods they have duly paid for.
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Edward Oryek, a supervisor from
one of the transport companies asked the security organs to increase highway patrols
in order to reduce the illegal parking believed to be a catalyst for hostility
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Busoga East Police Spokesperson
James Mubi condemns the acts of violence subjected to truck drivers saying that
local leaders should continuously sensitize the masses on the dangers of
violence against truckers.