The Busia Governor, Sospeter Ojaamong has urged the security agencies to be firm on Ugandan citizens who are crossing over to Kenya during this coronavirus pandemic period.
Speaking during the County leadership forum at Busia Agricultural Training Centre, Ojaamong noted that the County leadership and security team were still lenient with Ugandan nationals who cross over for trade.
“As Kenyans we do not go to their side because they have stationed the military along the border,” he said adding that those who attempt to cross over into Uganda can easily be shot.
He advised the security team to be firm on the Ugandans if Kenyans have to be safe from the virus.
“Everybody is sacrificing now, the business community are closing shop against their wish,” he said adding that Ugandans should be forced to stay in their country until the pandemic clears.
The Governor noted that the Ugandan administration simply dump Kenyans suspected to be infected at the border against the World Health Organization regulations.
“We should also create a system where these trucks are kept somewhere so that these people do not mingle freely with Kenyans,” he said.
He pointed out that the disease is currently being spread by truck drivers and their loaders commonly known as turn boys.
The governor assured the MCAs that once the budget is passed, the funds will be used prudently for the intended purpose.
“We will work with the technical team to advice on the quality of the PPEs required to avoid issuing fake items to our people,” he said.
Ojaamong also urged the MCAs not to discourage the health care providers against offering services to the citizens.
“At this trying moment I would advise the elected leaders to motivate the health care providers as much as possible,” he said.
The Teso North MP, Oku Kaunya said there is need to set up an isolation centre at Malaba Dispensary, adding that the border has the highest number of cargo traffic moving to Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.
Kaunya noted that there was a seven kilometre length of trucks up to Koteko area everyday posing danger of infection to the locals who interact freely with truck drivers.
“We have a great danger because the truck drivers and the turn boys interact freely with the common wananchi who sell their wares to them,” he said, adding that these people are more prone to being infected.
He pointed out that the two cases reported a week ago were from Malaba, adding that they had travelled from DRC and were destined to Mombasa.
“These truck drivers are not being checked until they reach Ugandan side,” he said adding that there is need to equip Kocholia hospital to serve as an isolation centre.
Kaunya suggested that thermos guns should be availed at Koteko roadblock along Malaba Bungoma road so that such drivers can be screened.
He also recommended that truck drivers adhere to the Ministry of Health directives, adding that 90 per cent of them do not wear face masks.
The lawmaker appealed to elected leaders to provide face masks to very critical groups like boda bodas, hawkers and mama mbogas, adding that the move will save lives.
The Busia County Commissioner (CC), Joseph Kanyiri urged residents to continue abiding by the Ministry of Health directives by wearing face masks, observing social distance and curfew.
Kanyiri noted that a number of the locals were disregarding social distancing especially in market areas warning that such markets risk being closed if there is no behavior change.
“We are afraid they will miss this important service but if the behavior does not change, then we have no option,” he said.
By Salome Alwanda