23 February 2013

Kenya: Traders Rush to Clear Goods As Polls Date Draws Near

Photo: Caroline Mwakio/Allafrica
Government to waiver port charges for the East African states arising from delays in clearance at the Mombasa Port over an election dispute (file photo).

The volume of cargo exiting Kenya at the Malaba border to Uganda, has increased as exporters engage in last- ditch efforts to have their goods cleared, ahead of Kenyan polls.

Kenya Revenue Authority officials in Malaba confirmed the upsurge of trucks arriving at the border from the port of Mombasa.

Kenya International Freight Warehousing Association organising secretary Deo Otia said some importers had halted importation, fearing the aftermath of the elections.

Sources at the border said importers both in Uganda and other great lakes region, were working round the clock to ensure their cargo is cleared before the polls.

"The upsurge of trucks at the border is quite evident, thus the need to expedite their clearance before the Kenyan elections," the agents said.

Most transporters said they would not allow their trucks in the country until after the elections.

"We do not want our vehicles to face problems like in the 2007 elections, when some of them were set ablaze in Kenya," they said.

Many foreigners are leaving the country, owing to uncertainty in the elections.

However, Malaba chief immigration officer Wilfred Chepkole said travellers had not increased much.

He said elaborate security measures had been put in place to ensure that bad elements do not enter the country to cause mayhem.

Uganda relies on Port Mombasa for her imports. It is working on how to have the goods enter the country through Tanzania.

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