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Regional integration committee calls for resolution of Migingo Island dispute

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The National Assembly Committee on Regional Integration wants the ongoing security concerns between Kenya and Uganda on Migingo Island addressed.
In a consultative meeting between the Committee and the Ministry of East Africa Community (EAC), the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs), and Regional Development, the session chair Hon. Farah Salah (Fafi), asked the Ministry to explain the measures they have taken to guarantee the safety of local fishermen undertaking commercial fishing in Lake Victoria and specifically those on Migingo Island.

” As you are aware the role of EAC  is to guarantee the safety and livelihood of local fishermen in both nations while working towards a peaceful resolution and preventing such problems in future. What measures are you taking to ensure that there is a resolution of the border and security concerns along Lake Victoria and in particular around Migingo Island?,” Hon. Salah asked.

In his response, Mr. Abdi Dubart, the Principal Secretary for EAC Affairs told Members that the Migingo Island conflict between Kenya and Uganda is basically a conflict over fisheries resources especially the rich Nile Perch fishing ground off the Island which fishermen from either side want to access due to historical and cultural reasons.

According to the PS, Article 5 of the Treaty establishing the EAC provides for the promotion of peace, security, stability, and good neighborliness among the partner states. However, he stated that there was no border and boundary dispute resolution mechanism to support the partner states in dealing with conflicts such as the Migingo Island dispute.

Additionally, the PS acknowledged that there were attempts made by both Kenya and Uganda towards addressing the particular security concerns around the Island. “To manage the fisheries resources the EAC partner states negotiated and established the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO) which provides a framework for cooperation among the Member States where negotiations are made, agreed on and used to manage the resources,” PS Dubart said.

He further told the Committee that until a lasting solution is found, both countries will continue to deploy joint patrols by law enforcement agencies within the Island.