Traders from Rwanda who use the Kenyan port of Mombasa have expressed their displeasure with the port’s inadequate parking lot amid allegations of corruption that they claim is adversely affecting their business.
The Secretary General of the Rwanda Long Distance Truck Drivers Union, Theodore Murenzi, said that port clerks, police and crane drivers, collude and demand for bribes from drivers to clear their goods.
“We are forced to park along the road where we get into trouble with the Mombasa Municipal Council authorities who fine us Kshs 4,000,” he said during a meeting organised by the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) to share views with the port’s customers in Kigali yesterday.
The Mombasa Port situated along the coast of Indian Ocean, is an entry point for goods destined for the East African region, Democratic Republic of Congo, Southern Sudan and Ethiopia.
“It has been happening whenever cranes have broken down,” Eng. Joseph Atonga, the Chief Operations Manager, Kenya Ports Authority said, adding they are committed to bringing to an end such criminal activities.
Atonga added that KPA is converting part of the land it owns into a parking yard for foreign trucks.
Traders have also reported that highway robberies and police roadblocks on Kenya highways target them and strip them of their cargo and money.
However, the Senior Deputy Commissioner and Director of Operations in the Kenyan Police, Julius Ndegwa, reassured traders that police now provide special escorts for cargo in transit from the port up to Malaba border post in Western Kenya.
“We have formed a highway patrol unit to protect goods in transit. They will be assisted by the Special Crime Protection Unit created recently,” he said.
The Managing Director of KPA, Gichiri Ndua, said despite the global economic recession, the port saw an increase of 5.1 percent in exports from the region with a growth in traffic of 5.4 metric tonnes from 5.1 metric tons, with Rwanda accounting for 5.4 percent transit traffic registered a growth of 33.5 percent.
“Currently, there is increasing usage of the port by the region, a sign of the improved region’s economic performance,” he said.