Kenya, Uganda to ease cross border business
The governments of Kenya and Uganda through the Joint Border Administrative Committee have agreed that no citizens of the two countries will be allowed to be holders of identity cards of the two neighboring nations.
The two authorities have said they were working to ensure that the Lwakhakha border post is fully operational to increase cross border trade in the area.
The two governments said the operations of the Lwakhakha border post would ease congestion at the Malaba and Busia border points while increasing cross border trade in the area.
Speaking during a Joint Border Administrators’ meeting at Lwakhakha border point, Bungoma County Commissioner, Mohammed Maalim and Uganda’s Manafwa Resident District Commissioner, Magomu Mubaraka, said the border point would be key in developing trade in the area.
He said the citizens of the two nations will only be allowed to apply for dual citizenship, saying that those with two identity cards are suspected to be criminals of which after accomplishing there criminal activities in either of the two states, they run to Kenya or Uganda to seek asylum.
Maalim said the route through Lwakhakha to Mbale, Uganda was the shortest to South Sudan and could be used by transit trucks to move cargo from the port of Mombasa.
Both countries are working on improving infrastructure by constructing a road that joins the two countries at Lwakhakha. Uganda has embarked on the construction of the Mbale-Lwakhakha road while Kenya is in the process of starting the construction of Chwele-Lwakhakha road.
He said the move to reroute the trucks would boost trade in the area and improve economic ties between the two countries.
“We know this is the shortest route to south Sudan and as such we would encourage transit trucks heading to South Sudan to pass through here thus improving economic activities,” said Maalim.
He said cross border trade was a key economic activity for communities living on both sides of the border and said plans were underway to streamline the trade at the border post.
He said this will enable the security teams of the two states to contain inter-border criminal activities that are rampant at the moment along the Kenya-Uganda border at Lwakhakha.
The commissioner added that politicians from Kenya are taking that advantage and that they were importing voters from Uganda in readiness for the forthcoming 2017 General Elections in Kenya.
He said officers found in delaying movement of cargo and people at the border and those engaged in graft activities would face stern action.
“We are asking all agencies involved in border operations need to be efficient in movement of cargo. Delays will not be tolerated and any officer involved in graft will face stern action,” said Maalim.
Mr. Mubaraka said Uganda was finding ways of improving their relationship with Kenya through strengthening key areas of cooperation.
He said Uganda had a lot of horticultural crops especially around the Lwakhakha area and as such operational of the border points will increase trade activities in the area.
“We have a good base for improving trade and if we use Lwakhakha as a transit point for our export products it will be an economic boost for both countries,” said Mubaraka.
The administrators said they would conduct regular border patrols to ensure all avenues for smuggling are sealed to curb illegal trade in the area.