Kenya retains its January 2017 ban on poultry from Uganda, even though Kampala had contained the avian flu outbreak by March 2017.
This contravenes East African Community rules, which provide for the free movement of goods and services within the region.
Uganda’s Assistant Commissioner in charge of Veterinary Regulation and Enforcement Doris Kiconco said that Kenyan officials visited Uganda in October 2017 to assess the efforts made in containing the outbreak, but Kampala was surprised when no action was taken to lift the ban.
“We have written several letters requesting that the ban be lifted officially, but we have never received a response,” said Dr Kiconco.
She added that when the ban was announced, it was done in writing, and the letter delivered to the relevant Uganda government institutions. But the letter lifting the ban has not been written.
Without this letter, which could then be quoted or carried by exporters, Ugandan businesses are stopped at the Kenyan border with their poultry and poultry products, with officials citing the avian flu ban, Dr Kiconco said.
According to the assistant commissioner, only three companies are exempted from the ban.
The companies were found to have adhered to safety measures that would protect their chicken from the avian flu brought in by migratory birds.
Hudani Manji Holdings, SR Afrochick and Kukuchic have had access to the Kenyan market since 2017.
But Robert Okoth, the commercial counsellor at the Kenya High Commission, said that Nairobi was aware that the avian flu outbreak had been contained and as such, the ban on poultry and its products was no longer operational.
However, Poulten Co-operative Society treasurer Anthony Sserunjogi said that Ugandan poultry products are not allowed into Kenya, with border officials saying the ban has never been lifted. Eggs are exempted from this ban.
Brian Kyagulanyi, the sales and technical manager at Biyinzika poultry farm, said that since the avian flu outbreak, the firm had access to the Kenyan market for just three weeks in June this year, before officials denied the firm entry.
Mr Kyagulanyi said that this is despite the ban being lifted for Biyizinka.
Buyinzika farm exports day old chicks to Kenya, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Kenya is the second EAC country to be accused of using avian flu as an excuse to restrict the poultry market.
In November last year, Tanzania burned 6,400 day-old chicks from Kenya, claiming they could have had avian flu.
Tanzania had banned poultry and its products in order to protect local companies.
Richard Kabonero Uganda’s High Commissioner to Tanzania said it is not surprising that East African partner states are using tactics like avian flu to block exports from the region.
He said that countries usually introduce different certificates and levies in the name of upholding standards to protect their citizens.
“But the point of these standards and measures is usually so that the respective countries can circumvent the EAC Common Market Protocol, without being questioned,” he said.
“Tariffs are down. Weighbridges are down. So these measures have become the new tool to block trade in the region.”
Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
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Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
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Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.
Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
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