Business slows at border as Kenyans vote
Posted Monday, March 4 2013 at 18:05
Business at Uganda’s border points of Malaba and Busia slowed down Monday as truck drivers packed to cast their vote. Mr Richard Kamajugo, the commissioner customs, Uganda Revenue Authority Commissioner said by close of business yesterday, hundreds of trucks were still at the border.
On a normal day, URA clears at least 1,100 trucks at the two border points but because of the elections there was no much activity.
Mr Kamajugo said: “We had normal flow of goods coming into Uganda until after Sunday afternoon. Business is slow and this is expected because the drivers, who are Kenyans drove the goods up to the border posts and went back to vote”.
He said they expect the drivers to resume work after the elections and embark on their respective destinations.
Shell Uganda Country Manager, Mr Ivan Kyayonka, in an interview with Daily Monitor said: “There is no flow of goods at the moment, drivers abandoned the trucks up to the border and hopefully after the elections, they will resume work”.
“We have reasonable supply at least for two to three days and if there is sanity after the election, drivers will be expected to load and no hiccup will be felt,” Mr Kyayonka said.
Experts say this situation will not so much disrupt Uganda’s smooth running of business at least for a few days, subject to how the elections and announcing of Kenya’s next President goes on peacefully and without a re-run.
“If the election stretches to a re-run, this will definately affect Uganda’s smooth flow of business and supply of goods,” Kampala City Traders Association Spokesperson, Mr Issa Sekitto said.
He added that despite the fact that there is a smooth flow of essential commodities like fuel, sugar and soap; this boasted by the local productions will not last for a long period if there are interruptions.
Mr Ssekitto said some traders deliberately refused to import goods fearing that they might be destroyed as was the case during the 2007 post-election violence.
Ugandans lost goods and property estimated at $40 million (Shs106 billion). Todate, no trader has been compensated.
Kenya’s High Commissioner to Uganda, Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Geoffrey Okanga said last week that the compensation process took a long time to evaluate.
He said: “At one time, it was an insurance matter until eventually it was switched to government which is supposed to pay –the process is ongoing and payment will happen as soon as the process is through”.
Some Ugandan traders have resorted to using the Dar es Salaam route which, however, is more expensive.