Busia County Governor Sospeter Ojaamong has appealed to the National Defence Council to come up with security policies that recognize border communities.
Ojaamong said the council needs to revise its policies on intelligence matters and initiate home-based ones especially in the frontline counties.
The governor made the remarks Wednesday while addressing a delegation from the National Defence College during an exchange programme meeting at a Busia hotel.
“The council should recognize communities living in the border counties due to the key role they play. The current policies we have at the borders are not working out properly. We need homegrown solutions in regards to defense in Busia County,” he said.
He added that despite the porous border being a security threat owing to a lot of smuggling activities, Busia County remains the main gateway to East and Central Africa and continues to enjoys cordial relations with Uganda and other Great Lakes Region.
Ojaamong noted that although the Busia and Malaba One Stop Border Posts have ensured seamless flow of goods and services their introduction led to over 5,000 job losses especially in the clearing and forwarding sector.
He also told the council that there is need to harmonize tax regimes in Kenya and Uganda saying the tax disparity between the two countries is a threat to local businesses as many Kenyans now prefer crossing over to Uganda to purchase goods at lower prices.
Ojaamong’s deputy Moses Mulomi told the meeting that 48 percent of trade between Kenya and the Great Lakes Region is processed at the Busia and Malaba border posts although lack of bypasses and trailer parks has led to perpetual truck pile-ups.
Mulomi who is also the acting County Health Executive told the council that Busia being a frontline county needs proper surveillance programs and medical facilities at the border to cushion it against any outbreaks of disease like Ebola.
Major-General Patrick Amogola who led the National Defence Council delegation said their mission in Busia was to benchmark on national security strategies and to hear from the county leadership on their policies, harmonization, successes and challenges.
“I am sure there are solutions to every challenge you have mentioned. We are here to listen and learn about your policies and strategies on how you are handling the issues and problems you have raised,” Amogola said.
By Melechezedeck Ejakait