EAC keeps off Migingo Island row

Migingo Island (right) as it stands on Lake Victoria.PHOTO/FILE

By ZEPHANIA UBWANI in Arusha and

The East African Community wants the dispute

between Kenya and Uganda over

the Migingo island to be sorted by

the two countries amicably.

Ms Beatrice Kiraso, EAC deputy secretary
general (Political Federation) said in Arusha,
Tanzania, over the weekend the community
does not have any solution to the border dispute.

"We cannot say anything on this.

Migingo is a political issue which we hope

can be resolved by the two countries

amicably," she told reporters.

The truth

Kenyan and Ugandan leaders had agreed

during the 10th EAC heads of state summit in April

to await findings by experts assigned to find out

the truth on the disputed borderline.

Ms Kiraso was briefing journalists on joint

military exercises in Arusha, Kilimanjaro and

Tanga regions which started near Arusha

on Sunday.

Soldiers from all five member states of

the community, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda,

Tanzania and Uganda, are taking part.

The journalists had wondered if the military

manoeuvres, to involve nearly

1,600 military personnel, would truly reflect the spirit

of EA unity with two member states

almost at "war" over the small island.

Meanwhile, daily fish harvests from Migingo Island

have dropped from ten to five tonnes,

according to fisheries officials.

The row over the island's ownership was now

affecting the operations of

fish processing plants in Nyanza.

Most of them were now operating only

once a week due to lack of Nile Perch,

said Mr Simon Munguti,

the Migori District Fisheries Officer.

On Sunday, Ugandan marine police directed

Kenyan fishermen and traders to stop

discussing ownership of the island in public.

Businesses on the island now display the portrait

of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

A few Kenyans who tried to display

the portraits of President Kibaki

and Mr Odinga were harassed and forced

to remove them from the walls.

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