The President of the Rwandan Heavy transporters Association, Emmanuel Nishimiyimana has revealed that Rwandan transporters along the Northern corridor are suffering from bribery, insecurity and discrimination. He said this yesterday during the Seamless Transport Committee meeting held in Remera, Rwanda.
The meeting aimed at validating the findings of a second survey done on the Northern Corridor in order to find out the causes of the high transit costs along the route. The first survey was carried out in 2007.
“There are thieves in Kabale hills especially in Rubale. The drivers fear travelling at night. They steal fuel in Kenya and Uganda. We have to rest and travel during the day time,” a visibly disappointed Nishimiyimana said.
Nishimiyimana stated that there is discrimination against Rwandan transporters at road blocks in both Uganda and Kenya.
“There are many stopovers by traffic police and road blocks along the way. In Kenya and Uganda, they let their own go but when it is a Rwandan truck, they stop you, put you at the side and ask for bribes,” Nishimiyimana said.
According to the findings of a seven-man team selected by the Seamless Transport Committee they found that there were 24 police checks and 14 road blocks along the route.
Tilas Muia, the Committee’s secretary, said that during their journey along the corridor, they witnessed people giving bribes to the customs officials.
“We would see someone handing in a paper and in between the folded paper would be money. Also, others would exchange bribes behind the trucks,” Muia reported to the committee.
Nishimiyimana also complained about the numerous weighbridges along the transit route, calling them quite inconveniencing.
“There are seven weighbridges from Mombasa to Malaba [Kenya] and there is one at Lukaya, Uganda, that is not supposed to be operating,” he said.
The findings found that there were 13 weighbridges along the corridor. However, previously the committee had resolved that the only weighbridges allowed to operate were those at the border entrances and exits of Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya.
Among the other complaints, were the poor state of the roads though construction is ongoing in some areas.
“The road from Ntungamo to Masaka [Uganda] is poor but is under construction. Malaba to Nairobi [Kenya] is also poor. But Nairobi to Mombasa is good,” Nshimiyimana explained, adding that the construction, though slow, was another source of delays.
James Adoli, the Kenyan traffic Commandant said that they were putting in place necessary strategies to combat criminal activity along the corridor.
“Uganda has bought new patrol cars and deployed at dangerous points. We also have formed a special body called the Anti Corruption Commission that has the powers to prosecute all corruption cases. We have also availed our phone numbers and told the transporters to report even the minor cases,” he said.
Denis Sabiiti, Assistant Commissioner of Safety and Inspection of roads in Uganda said that there was a budget projection of 1.1 trillion shillings meant for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of roads.
“We have planned a budget for roads with a planned lifespan of fifteen years, which is the same with Kenya,” he said.
Sabiiti also said that some of the roads don’t last as expected because of heavy trucks. As a precaution, he said that heavy trucks are restricted to three axles.
The Seamless Transport Committee was created in 2005 by the transport ministries of Kenya and Uganda. Then in 2007, Rwanda, Burundi and Congo joined.
The intention was a concerted effort to identify and remove non tariff barriers and facilitate transit activity along the Northern corridor that stretches from Mombasa to Congo to realise the commitment to the East African Community