Truck drivers paralyze transport over corruption
16 February 2015, 09:24
Busia - Over 200 truck drivers on Friday used their trucks to block the busy Kisumu- Busia highway, at Busia's weighbridge office citing corruption by the weighbridge officers.
Transport was paralyzed for over 6 hours with the drivers packing their trucks in the middle of the road forcing other vehicles plying the route to find alternative routes to and from Busia town.
It took the intervention of the County commissioner Isaiah Nakoru, CID boss Amos Tebeny and police commander Halima Mohammed among other security officers to try and calm down the rather charged crowd of truck drivers that had camped outside the weighbridge offices a few kilometers to Busia town, demanding for the immediate transfer of the manager.
"We appeal to you that you clear the road first as we try and address your issues; a solution will be found as soon as possible." Nakoru stated.
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However, the irate drivers would hear none of it but instead heckled at the senior security officers who were trying to address them.
"We need a solution immediately. Mathenge should go! He should be transferred; we do not want him in Busia anymore!" The crown chanted.
Led by the chairman Busia clearing and forwarding Sacco association Abubakar Ochieng', they lamented that the officers demand for bribes from the truck drivers before releasing trucks that carry dangerous petroleum products.
"This problem started in October last year, since a new manager was deployed in this region who has been taking advantage by discriminating us and does not allow anyone with a complain to access his office for assistance. Also, his officers are very corrupt and arrogant," charged Ochieng'.
He added, "The trucks pass Mombasa, Mariakani, Gilgil and Webuye weighbridges without being charged with an overload; why is it that the problem only occurs in Busia? Why shouldn't they harmonize the system being used in all these other weigh bridges instead?"
"The officers keep us waiting for over 5 hours and the traffic jam caused by these trucks stretches up to 4km; it is very dangerous and hazardous since women who conduct hotel businesses at the roadside use fire. In an event of any leakage of petroleum products, then it would result to a very huge disaster in Busia, and many lives will be lost," he observed.
A truck driver who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter revealed that recently he was forced by the weighbridge officers to part with a whooping KES 20 000 before being allowed to proceed with his journey to Mombasa.
However, our efforts to reach the manager of Busia weigh bridge Isaac Mathenge for comments turned futile as he was not in the office by the time we were going to press.
They also took issue with the County government of Busia led by Governor Sospeter Ojaamong saying that they have been ignored for long and wondered why the governor himself did not show up and listen to their woes.
The Executive in charge of public works, roads, transport, energy and disaster management Gregory Odeke said that plans are underway to establish parking bays for long distance trucks to ease pressure on the impassable Busia road network.
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