Tanzania: Alarm As Ugandans Shift Businesses Across Tanzania Border

Ugandan traders have crossed into Tanzania at Mutukula border to set up businesses even as local leaders raised the red flag over the a looming health crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Christopher Kalemba, the Kakuuto County MP, yesterday raised the matter in the House and asked the authorities to intervene before it is too late.

The MPs said the traders' actions were exposing Uganda to a new wave of Covid-19 infections.

Mr Kalemba asked Parliament to summon the Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, to tell the country how government would protect the Ugandans, especially the families of the traders .

"The traders in Rakai and Kyotera districts, who were running businesses at Mutukula border have gone to rent commercial houses on the side of Tanzania. There are fears among the community members that this can lead to more infections," he said.

There is no lockdown in Tanzania.

Mr Kalemba also told the House that foreign truck drivers had this week declined to be tested, citing discrimination by health officials at the border.

As one of the measures of combating the spread of Covid-19, the drivers are being tested at the entry points.

Foreigners who are found positive are returned to their countries while Ugandans are evacuated to hospitals.

Mr Kalemba said the standoff at the border has seen foreign truck drivers park their vehicles in the no man's land, blocking in-coming traffic.

In a related development, the Woman MP for Nwoya District, Ms Lilly Akello, has questioned why there remains a lockdown in Gulu District despite President Museveni's easing some of the measures.

"Why is it that Gulu has remained under lockdown when it is not a border district? The President opened some of the border districts but Gulu remains locked down with no private and public transport," Ms Akello said.

Although the district does not lie on any border, Gulu Regional Referral Hospital is one of the health facilities where positive cases, especially from Elegu border post in Amuru District and neighbouring areas, are admitted.

During his address to the nation on the fight against Covid-19 on Monday, Mr Museveni said border districts which have not had a wave of community infections be opened for public and private transport.

Public and private transport in non-border districts has been operational since June 4.

None of the Health ministers was in the House to respond to the matter.

By June 25, the country's Covid-19 cases stood at 821 with 731 recoveries.

Kadaga tasks

The Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, directed General Duties Minister Mary Karoro Okurut, who is a member of the National Taskforce, to ensure that a response is brought to the House as soon as possible.

"We want to resolve the standoff related to the truck drivers. We also need to address the issue of movements," Ms Kadaga said. The Prime Minister is expected to make a weekly briefing to Parliament on the fight against Covid-19 today.

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