The Kenyan government says it will clear the traffic jam that has been choking the flow of vehicles at its border into landlocked Uganda as soon as possible.
The approximately 50-kilometre-long traffic jam has been slowing down the movement of goods on one of the most important transport corridors in the Great Lakes region for days.
The road links the port of Mombasa to landlocked Uganda. Trucks have been stuck on the Kenyan side of the Malaba border.
Kenya’s Transport Minister, James Macharia, on national television on Tuesday, blamed a group of disgruntled truck drivers for the 50 kilometres of traffic jam.
“We had a few elements who came to incite the other drivers,” Macharia said.
He was joined by Adan Mohamed, Secretary for the East African Community and Regional Development, who said truck drivers had complained about hostility when driving in Uganda since the coronavirus outbreak.
Drivers have reported that their vehicles have been pelted with stones, that Ugandans have refused to sell them food and have referred to them as “Coronas” suggesting that they carry the virus.
They have also said that the coronavirus testing they were made to do in Uganda was painful.
Mohamed said the snarl-up was becoming a security threat and would be cleared in the next four to five days.
“Mombasa port serves the whole of the region,” Mohammed said, adding that the Malaba border was important to Kenya.
The Independent, a media outlet in Uganda, reported on Friday that more than 500 trucks were stuck at various entry points in the region because of issues around COVID-19 testing.