Odongo Odoyo

Topical Commentary

With Odongo Odoyo

When fear gripped the country over the eminent looming shortage of fuel and basic commodities due to stand-off by truck drivers at the Elegu border point who refused to cross into the country due to insecurity, there werepeople from the government and private sectors who worked tirelessly to see that the situation was addressed amicably. They deserve a part on the back but what came out from a group led by Emmanuel kachoul Mayen, the President of South Sudan Freight Forwarders Association-Business Community in East Africa with offices in Mombasa, Uganda and Dar es Salaam gave us another insight to the problem which illuminated probably that there were people who knew about it but did not let the public know. If it is true that there are people among the population who could go to this far, then indeed the world is round and indeed it rotates. There are people who are in the forefront of sabotaging the good business relationship in the region with the aim of self-centred interests meant to down-play the economic growth and make others suffer.

   We are basically here to make a joint communiqué with our brothers of Kenya Long Distance Truck Drivers Union at Malalango.  We stand in solidarity with our drivers both Kenyan and Ugandan who have more than once suffered the wroth of bad characters along the transport route to juba from Mombasa.The incident which took place along Nimule – Juba highway resulting into the killing of innocent drivers is very sad and we in the private sector in East Africa strongly condemn this act in the strongest terms possible, it is BARBARIC and an EVIL ACT.It is completely not acceptable in our culture to kill innocent drivers who are working very hard day and night to ensure the supply chain of essential goods and services to the landlocked countries is not interrupted. Again, these drivers are not armed and they are harmless to everyone. My question to those calling themselves rebels is why kill innocent drivers who are not even armed only looking for their daily bread? This is very unfortunate. Dear editor, allow me to reiterate to the fact that we the private sector know the Reason Behind these Frequent Attacks on the innocent drivers who ply the route linking the supply chain from Mombasa Port to South Sudan. Their Motive is to disrupt the supply chain from Mombasa port to South Sudan and to discourage the Business Community and people of South Sudan who are currently using Mombasa Port as their port preference to move their cargo. Their aim is to see our business people move their Cargo either to Port Sudan or other ports. We know it and we are advising them this is not the way forward.

Finally, my message to Kenya Port Authority and Kenya Revenue Authority is to work closely with South Sudan government and the private sector to ensure the safety of our drivers.

Striking or impounding trucks transporting fresh goods which are perishable on a Border is a big loss to our business community. Hence, since South Sudan government has beefed up security along Nimule – Juba highway hence ensuring safety of our drivers, we advise the drivers to halt the strike and resume their normal operations because continued striking is not the way forward. Here is the list of places where trucks are impounded, Malaba, Busia, Kumi, Mbale, Elegu, Kamdin, and Vidia.

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