Breaking

Truck Drivers Starve as Communities Deny them Access to Shops

The drivers have been stuck for days along the Kasese-Bwera road after flood-driven debris piled at Mpondwe bridge that connects Uganda to the Democratic Republic of Congo following heavy rains on Thursday. The disaster cut off access for heavy truck drivers to the two countries, through Mpondwe.
24 May 2020 10:34
Trucks along Bwera-DRC boarder on Saturday morning

Audio 3

Cargo drivers who are stranded along the Uganda-DRC border in Bwera have decried the lack of food and other sanitary services in Kasese District. 

The drivers have been stuck for days along the Kasese-Bwera road after flood-driven debris piled at Mpondwe bridge that connects Uganda to the Democratic Republic of Congo following heavy rains on Thursday. The disaster cut off access for heavy truck drivers to the two countries, through Mpondwe.  

On Saturday, the truck drivers told URN that the situation has become unbearable for them because the communities in Kasese are denying them access to shops and markets yet they did not carry enough food because such a disaster was not anticipated.  

The group which includes both local and international drivers say that they were instructed by security forces to not move from their parking areas into communities. Those who attempted to reach out to shops complained of being denied food by shop keepers and the community on suspicion that they could spread coronavirus-positive. 

The fear comes after an increase in cases of coronavirus among truck drivers who are crossing through Uganda to neighbouring countries. A recent spike in cases has resulted from tests conducted among truck drivers and their contacts, at the borders of Mutukula in Southern Uganda, Malaba and Busia in Eastern Uganda and Elegu in Northern Uganda. 

Martin Tumwebaze, a truck driver from Kampala says he had spent three days on the roadside in Bwera without food. Tumwebaze had hoped to travel on the same day back to Kampala and planned for no eventualities on the road. 

//Cue in; “Banu abasaja olaba… 

Cue out...bugobi aba police abataka.”//  

Tumwebaze is also concerned that the situation could expose them to other ailments since on top of being denied food, they are not allowed to use places of convenience within the area. The drivers have to dig some pits along the roadsides to ease themselves, according to Tumwebaze.  

//Cue in; “Ete wano by'ogenda…

Cue out...kubanga tweyiya.”// 

Stephen Onyanja, a truck driver from Kenya says the quantity of food he had was only meant for a few days on the road, since he had not anticipated the breakdown at the bridge. He demands that the Uganda National Road Authority-UNRA accelerates the work on Mpondwe bridge so that they continue with their journey’s. 

//Cue in; “Maji wiyezi kama… 

Cue out...nayomba kama sirikale.”// 

Edward Kidwaro, another truck driver says that they were forced to park in an isolated place where they can hardly access water and questions why the area leadership couldn’t provide food and water to trick drivers in this kind of an emergency. 

Kasese Resident District Commissioner Joshua Masereka says that the local leadership is teaming up with UNRA to ensure that the road is cleared this weekend. However, he says, cargo drivers have been encouraged to carry their own food since the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease because they are not allowed to stop anywhere in the district and Uganda. 

The UNRA team, with the aid of prisoners, is still clearing the debris with a few light and empty vehicles being allowed to use a part of the bridge.

Images 2

Entities

Keywords