Rwanda, Kenya address truck standoff on Tanzania borders

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By Sunday, more than 300 drivers had tested positive from a sample of over 6,000. PHOTO | COURTESY

Rwanda and Kenyan transport officials are expected to hold fresh talks separately with their Tanzanian counterparts over continuing truckers stalemate at their respective borders.

Tanzania cross-border cargo truck owners want unconditional access into Rwanda, protesting the Covid-19 control measures requiring them to terminate their trips at the Rwanda border, with exception of perishables and petroleum products as per the deal reached by the governments on May 15.

According to media reports, the Tanzania Truck Owners Association has requested the government to have talks with neighbouring countries and review its members claim that their Covid-19 certificates are being rejected at the borders while others have to wait for long to offload cargo at the Namanga (with Kenya) and Rusumo (Rwanda) borders.

Rwanda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Vincent Biruta confirmed that parties were expected to meet, on a date yet to be set.

He, however, did not reveal the specific demands presented by Tanzania, and whether the talks signal a setback to the previously reached deal.

CLEARANCE CERTIFICATES

“It will be a follow up on the implementation of the resolutions of the previous bilateral meeting with Tanzania,” he said through the Office of the Government Spokesperson.

On the Tanzania-Kenya borders, the situation is the same, as drivers from the two countries are stranded and cannot enter or exit both sides at the Namanga and Holili/Taveta One Stop Border Posts.

Tanzania’s Transport Minister Isaack Kamwelwe said the two countries are making arrangements to have talks to settle the matter.

Kenya and Tanzania had earlier agreed that truck drivers were to be tested in their countries of origin and given clearance certificates to allow them easier crossing. However, last week Kenyan officials rejected Tanzania’s certificates, causing the pile up of trucks as Tanzania also stopped Kenyan drivers.

On May 15, Rwandan and Tanzanian officials agreed on cross border modalities for truckers and on May 22, Tanzania held a one-day meeting with Kenyan officials in Arusha and agreed on the same.