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Complacency and lack of information sharing cited as major challenges affecting border management

Busia County Commissioner Jacob Narengo has cited lack of information sharing and complacency among security officers as a major challenges facing border management.
Speaking during cross border sensitization forum in Busia Thursday, Narengo said some security officers assigned duties along the porous border points in both Kenya and Uganda were instead interested in collecting bribes instead of discharging their security role.
“Selfishness is what is killing our security because in their daily duties, they come across illicit goods but they do not take action,” he said.
He pointed out that many aliens are avoiding the designated One-Stop Border Post (OSBPs) but instead using the illegal route within Sophia area along the Kenya-Uganda buffer zone.
“Our officers from both Kenyan and Ugandan side are there but some of them simply take bribes,” he said adding that both Kenya and Uganda Revenue Authorities are the only ones mandated to collect revenue.
The county commissioner added that the two states are losing a lot of revenue through the influx of counterfeit and illegal goods yet the two governments spend a lot of money in establishing the OSBPs.
Narengo disclosed that a cross border meeting will be held early next month, with a view to charting way forward on how to manage the border line.
“After that meeting, we will be conducting cross border sensitization through a harmonized programme so that the two countries can agree on how to handle cross border issues,” he said, adding that the aim is not to restrict cross border movement but ensure that all movements pass through OSBP.
Narengo further warned that police officers who take bribes along non-designated border points will not be entertained, adding that the notion that security officers posted at the border county must be fought at all costs.
Busia Uganda Deputy Resident District Commissioner Paul Kwalikwani on his part urged leaders from both sides of the border to embrace servant leadership.
Kwalikwani noted that most civil servants view responsibilities as opportunities, adding that those driven by selfishness cannot serve the community effectively.
“If you are driven by that, you cannot serve,” he said adding that leaders should hold service above self.
He stated that on most cases people are driven by what they stand to gain from their position as opposed to service delivery.
“We are supposed to monitor and supervise what is happening in our areas of jurisdiction,” he said, adding that there is need for collaborated efforts without which no progress can be achieved.
The deputy district commissioner added that a number of resources have been used in establishing the One Stop Border Post yet very little progress was being realized.
“So together can we maximize our abilities so that all we are talking about will cease being challenges,” he said.
Kwalikwani argued that cross border traders are frustrated by security officers who do not act promptly on their reports.
He noted that most security officers lack self-esteem and patriotism, adding that all government employees should be satisfied with their salaries.
At the same time, Deputy Resident District Commissioner urged youth to be innovative instead of waiting for the government to offer employment opportunities to them.
“In Uganda, the government has placed a number of youth empowerment programmes but they have abused the opportunities and now they are blaming the government for not doing enough,” he said, adding that youth are instead involved in illegal trade.
Kwalikwani urged youth from both Kenya and Uganda to be innovative before they seek government support.
The forum brought together security officers and other stakeholders engaged in cross border operations and opinion leaders.
By Salome Alwanda

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