By George Kalisa
The three Heads of State of the East African Community (EAC) region, Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya) and Paul Kgame of Rwanda have reached a common understanding on the movement of cross-border truck drivers as a response to the spread of the novel coronavirus.
It has emerged that they had a long discussion yesterday on the matter though details have not been divulged.
“I had a very long discussion with H.E Uhuru Kenyatta and H.E @PaulKagame regarding truck drivers. I also talked to H.E @MagufuliJP on a slightly different subject. However, President Kenyatta and President Kagame agreed that we can have a common plan for truck drivers,” tweeted President Museveni.
The increase in COVID-19 cases in the region has been attributed to the uncontrolled movement of cross-border truck drivers. Many new cases of the Coronavirus in especially Rwanda are truck drivers.
Yesterday COVID-19 cases in Rwanda reached 225 after identifying 13 news cases mostly cross-border truck drivers and their assistants.
The common plan that the duo have come up with is a good gesture and a demonstration of political will to scale up the fight against the pandemic that has had deleterious effects on the social and economic life of the region like elsewhere on the continent, observers say.
Apart from carrying cargo of food stuffs, they transport the much needed medical equipment like ventilators, protective gears and other medicines that are not only needed in the fight against the pandemic but also to sustain the health systems in general and life of the citizens in the region.
On the same day, President Paul Kagame called on his counterparts on the Continent during a virtual meeting of the African Union (AU) Bureau to come up with a comprehensive regional response plan to beat the pandemic.
“A comprehensive regional response plan is still needed, and really owning up fully to this heavy responsibility where we not only do our best in our own countries, but share information and harmonise the way we go about business in the whole region,” said Kagame.