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EDITORIAL: The virus should not hold countries down

The Covid-19 pandemic had relegated all other things – politics included – to the back seat in the last few months.

One of the casualties was the Uganda-Rwanda talks which were interrupted by the virus outbreak.


But now it seems the world does not want to be held hostage by the virus indefinitely and many are resuming life as usual. But nothing will be the same again.


On the Uganda-Rwanda talks, some good news at last; Uganda has agreed to release 179 Rwandans it has been holding illegally, a bone of contention that threatened to scuttle relations between both sister-countries.


Now that that hurdle is out of the way, it is time to deal with other pending issues, especially the current trans-border trade that is nearly grounding countries to a halt due to the Coronavirus.

Research has identified trans-border truck drivers and their crew as the main source of the spread of the pandemic in this region. Countries have designed individual policies to deal with the threat but the absence of a common strategy does not bode well.

What is encouraging, though, is that talks are ongoing and many are waiting for fruitful outcomes, but whatever the case, the safety of the people in this region is primordial. We must ensure that anyone crossing any border is Corona-free; that should be the bottom line.

So, the only way to ensure the transparency of the testing mechanisms is having joint teams at each border carrying out the verification process.

Otherwise, carrying out testing in countries of origin and giving truckers 14-day certificates – as Kenya and Tanzania have suggested – is not viable, it risks being abused because we know very well we are not all saints.

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