What you need to know:
- In the past two months, five truck drivers plying the Northern Corridor have been killed by highway robbers.
- Most of the drivers are hardworking and committed professionals who spend many days on the roads as they provide this key service.
- They are a vital cog in the import and export business, which contributes significantly to regional economic growth and prosperity.
The increasing insecurity targeting truck drivers poses a grave threat to the goods transportation business in East Africa and the Great Lakes.
Without access to Mombasa or Dar es Salaam ports, the bulk of imports and exports for these countries would be hampered, badly depressing the economies.
But now, there have been reports of the killing of truck drivers plying the Northern Corridor.
In the past two months, five drivers have been killed here, by highway robbers.
The Kenya Transporters Association is—rightly—alarmed.
Most of the drivers are hardworking and committed professionals who spend many days on the roads as they provide this key service.
They are a vital cog in the import and export business, which contributes significantly to regional economic growth and prosperity.
Every day, there are trucks ferrying goods through Kenya to the landlocked countries in the west.
The 12,707-kilometre route is important for Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and South Sudan.
The killings now threaten the critical transport sector. The lack of security hampers efficiency, and the delays increase transportation costs.
Understandably, the transporters have now issued an ultimatum to the police to stop the killings, or else they will go on strike.
While the police claim that they always conduct patrols and mount roadblocks and security checks to enhance safety, the drivers claim the special Northern Corridor Police Unit is ineffective.
They say some crooked officers not only demand bribes from innocent drivers but also commit robberies.
It is annoying that one comes across numerous police roadblocks along this transit route but the officers seem more interested in extorting bribes than securing road users.
It is as clear as day that their main motivation for setting up the checks and patrols is self-gain.
Every effort must be made to secure the Northern Corridor to ease the import-export trade.