A shortage of Covid-19 testing kits in Malaba-Uganda on Tuesday interrupted cargo clearance at the One Stop Border Post for over 10 hours.
Truck drivers who had queued as early as 4:00am, ready to cross over to Uganda remained frustrated till 3:00pm when the issue was resolved.
Speaking on phone, the Kenya Revenue Authority Malaba Station Manager, Paul Nyaga said the cargo transporters were partly to blame for the delay due to their failure to adhere to the government directive that they get tested at the place of origin.
“There was a shortage of reagents on the Ugandan side and truck drivers who lacked Coronavirus test certificates crossed over and filled up the parking space there-hence blocking even their colleagues with certificates.
“For us we do clearance on a first come first served basis. The drivers arrived and when they were to be cleared none of them had a certificate hence their samples could not be taken because of the shortage in Uganda.
Nyaga said the drivers could not therefore proceed with the journey as the test certificate is mandatory.
“We are trying to advice the drivers not to leave their points of origin without the test certificates. If they had acquired the certificates the delay would not have occurred,” Nyaga explained.
Truck drivers who had spent the better part of Tuesday on the traffic snarl-up called on fellow drivers to always ensure they get the certificate before reaching the border to ease traffic flow and cargo clearance.
“Some of us with certificates are stranded here yet we are transporting medicine and food stuffs”, Mohammed Abdi, a driver whose truck ferries medicine to Southern Sudan lamented.
In April, the Kenyan government issued a directive that all Kenya truck drivers should undergo Covid-19 testing and acquire test certificates at their respective points of origin to ease traffic pile up at the One Stop Border Posts.
However, many truckers are not adhering to the directive and prefer being tested upon reaching the border which is causing perpetual traffic jams at Bungoma-Malaba and Kisumu-Busia Highways.
By Melechezedeck Ejakait