By Agnes Kiconco
KIU, Main Campus – President Yoweri Museveni, while addressing the country on the Coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, 28th April, said that it is suicidal and unnecessary to ban cargo truck drivers.
"Banning cargo trucks from entering the country, is absolutely suicidal and unnecessary," the President offered. “I say it is suicidal because, if we stop cargo, how will our coffee (and cotton, tea, cotton, milk, cement from the factories) move?”
He added that this is because if the cargo is banned, farmers and factories will have no international market hence discouraging production.
In an effort to weather the storm of angry Ugandans the president advised: “Until the train is fully operational, I appeal to Ugandans to swallow your anger and employ magezi [wisdom]."
Further, he advised truck drivers to continue operating but with strict emphasis on the new guidelines from the Ministry of Health. The new guideline suggests that each truck should have only one occupant and not three like it used to be.
Over the last two weeks, Ugandans have expressed concern over the rising number of Coronavirus cases that have been “imported,” into the country.
"So far, we have 23 positive truck drivers. Out of these, one Tanzanian truck driver was officially repatriated, 13 truck drivers both Kenyan and Tanzanian exited Uganda on their own. Seven non-Ugandan truck drivers are admitted at our hospitals and undergoing treatment. They are all in stable condition," Health Minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said on Tuesday.
Earlier, in response to the spike of Coronavirus cases among truck drivers, the State Minister of Health in charge of General Duties, shared that the government had asked Kenyan companies to recruit Ugandan drivers to transport cargo into Uganda from border points.
However, Kenyan transporters protested against the decision claiming that it would significantly impact their bottom line.