10 August 2017

Uganda: Travellers Halt Journeys to Kenya Amid Fears of Violence

Photo: Jeff Angote/The Nation
Youths barricade Juja Road in Mathare on August 9, 2017 as they demonstrate against the presidential results.

Kampala — Ugandans weary of eventualities in Kenya have cut down bus travels to Nairobi, travel companies told Daily Monitor.

Most transporters plying the Kampala-Nairobi bus routes have halted journeys, with a handful changing routes as anxiety grips the country over the highly contested election results.

Modern Coast Group, a travel company, has the only buses going to Kenya, although a top official told this newspaper that Ugandan passengers have declined and that they are abandoning "unsafe routes."

"Currently when everyone is scared of the outcome in Kenya, we are continuing with our journeys. The only thing we have changed is the routes, usually we use Kisumu but now we are going to use Eldoret until we are sure there is no violence," said Mr Hassan Waboga, the operations manager.

Mr Waboga said Ugandan travellers are nevertheless scanty, saying most are from neighbouring Burundi and Rwanda.

Travel agencies such as Buscar and Dreamline Express have both halted journeys to Kenya, citing fears of insecurity at the height of the elections.

An official working for Buscar, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said no one wants to risk the possibility of ending up with a torched bus, adding that they will resume operations after being certain that there will be no violence.

Police spokesperson Asan Kasingye, however, said there is no need of sounding alarm bells, dismissing fears of possibilities of violence as unfounded. "There is nothing, everything is okay. We have contacted our counterparts in Nairobi, intelligence and even our own people, but there is no threat at all," Mr Kasingye said.

Mr Kasingye added that there is no need to evacuate Ugandans from Nairobi because they are safe, reiterating the Force's preparedness to deal with any challenges.

Police at the border points of Malaba and Busia are reporting an influx of Kenyans crossing into the country, a day after elections.

"On average 10 Kenyans cross into Uganda in every 20 minutes and today being a market day in Malaba it becomes difficult to know whether they are coming to shop or not but the faces that cross hardly go back," Mr Sowali Kamulya, the Bukedi regional police spokesperson said.

Uganda Red Cross Society has equally switched into preparedness mode, with the emergency response manager Paul Okot saying a team of volunteers have been assembled to avert any situation.


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