Long-distance truck drivers have threatened to stage a nationwide strike from Thursday, 18th June 20, over the suspension of Covid-19 testing that has hampered their operations.
Speaking in Mombasa, they said the decision to halt the tests for 15 days from today, 11th June, would derail the transport business
The chairman of the Long-Distance Truck Drivers Association in Mombasa County, Roman Waema, said that without the Covid-19 certificates, everything would come to a standstill.
“We will not be allowed to load cargo from Mombasa Port without the Covid-19 certificate. We have been forced to suspend our operations as there is no testing going on.”
They also accused the authorities in some counties of erecting barriers to prevent them from parking their vehicles, which made the public view them as Covid-19 carriers.
“Recently, some governors warned us against parking our trucks in their counties,” he added.
Daring Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua to gazette a notice barring them from parking their lorries at Makutano junction, the truck drivers vowed to stay put until their nationwide strike next week.
Waema said it was wrong to single out truck drivers as a group during the Covid-19 testing instead of treating them just like any other Kenyans to avoid stigmatising them.
Kenya Transporters Services Chief Executive Officer Dennis Ombok said he had been assured by the Ministry of Health that the testing kits had been dispatched to Mombasa County.
“Why hasn’t the country resumed the testing of truck drivers?” Ombok asked.
He called for the resumption of the tests at the Miritini Motor Vehicle Inspection Centre so that the truck drivers can go back to work.
Early this month, truck drivers in Mombasa protested over delays in issuing the Covid-19 test results, which adversely affected the cargo transport service.