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TRANSPORTERS SUSPEND OPERATIONS AHEAD OF KENYAN POLLS

By Mulengera Reporters

Several transport operators plying Uganda to Kenya route, have decided to suspend their operations as Kenyans vote for their leaders tomorrow. Tomorrow 9th August, Kenyans are electing their new leaders, but though the country didn’t close its borders, cargo and passenger transporters from Uganda are to wait to go across till the election process is finished.

Charles Mwebembezi, the chairperson of the Uganda freight forwarders association, says that they are in fear because they don’t know what might happen after the elections, and because of that they can’t gamble with life and property which can be saved just by a mere delay of some few days.

According to Mwebembezi, the Kenyan government has assured them of security while in transit from the port to the point of exit, but he says they cannot take chances, based on the history of Kenyan polls, adding that though the port and borders are still open, they are not moving any cargo for at least three days, just to monitor the conditions.

Kenneth Ayebare, the chairperson of the Uganda Cargo Consolidators Association, says under such unpredictable conditions, some cargo had started to go through the central corridor however it is quite expensive and the easier solution was to hold their operations than risk, adding that the last trucks they expect are those reaching the Ugandan border points today and that any track to move must have cargo insurance.

Ayebare said: “We have advised all our drivers to halt operations as we monitor the situation, and the last trucks we are expecting are those that reach Busia and Malaba today, while those in transit must have cargo insurance. Though the Kenya ports authority has promised to give us a waiver on demurrage for the time the country will be in elections, it’s just a promise which is not in writing.”

The situation is not different even for passenger transport service providers, and several key players in this sector have also halted operations till further notice.

Yazid Kalangwa, a driver with Buscar transport company, says the fear of Kenya’s election aftermath, has been on for the last one week, and the number of passengers from Uganda to Kenya reduced to less than half, wheres those coming in multiplied. However, many Kenyans staying in Uganda also traveled in large numbers going back home to take part in the elections.

He adds that starting today his bosses have ordered him to stay at home until he is called back to duty after the Kenyan election process is done, adding that they have also informed their customers of the same.

Solomon Nsimire the chairperson of the Uganda Bus Operators Association, told URN that as an association they did not come up with a common stand about the situation, and the discussion was left to individual companies to take a stand.

Since the post-election violence in the 2007-2008 Kenyan elections, whenever this country goes to the polls, Uganda is highly cautious and puts up several measures to avoid the spillover-URN (For comments on this story, get back to us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734 & 0200900416 or email us at mulengeranews@gmail.com).

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