The Rwandan government said on Wednesday that it was working with Tanzanian authorities to address cross border protests by drivers who are opposing new measures introduced recently by Rwanda to curb the spread of COVID-19.The move comes after Rwandan Government recently issued several measures aimed at curbing the virus including extending customs cargo clearance at border posts, particularly at the entry points of Rusumo and Kagitumba borders.
The new measure comes after recent cases of coronavirus have been linked to cross border truck drivers and their assistants, particularly those who transport goods from Dar es Salaam port in Tanzania through Rusumo (South East).
Following new directive, Rwandan ministry of Infrastructure has asked all cargo owners and transporters who wish to travel to submit their vehicle details in order to be facilitated to easily move.
However, new guidelines to manage truck drivers imply that truck owners should at least have at least two drivers per vehicle (one from Tanzania and another from Rwanda).
The new decision was immediately contested by many Tanzanian drivers, most of whom said it didn’t make sense putting their vehicles and cargo into the hands of the people whom they have no formal agreement with.
Video footages of Rwandan truck drivers being attacked by groups of people inside Tanzania, said to be truck drivers, who are opposed to recent measures introduced by the Government of Rwanda aimed at stopping cross border transmission of COVID-19 by the truck drivers and their assistants, have been making rounds on social media platforms.
Official reports indicate that 80% of Rwanda’s imports pass through the Central Corridor route using Dar es Salaam port.
Rwanda, a small landlocked country, is served by two major transport corridors — the Central Corridor that runs from Dar es Salaam through Tanzania’s heartland, and the Northern Corridor that runs from Mombasa through Kenya and Uganda.