Kenyan fishermen in Lake Victoria are decrying mistreatment by Ugandan authorities patrolling the lake.
The police from the neighbouring country always arrest Kenyan fishermen, take away their fish and fishing gears and sometimes incarcerate them unprocedurally.
“They assume huge losses on the hands of Ugandan police and authorities who patrol the lake and arrest these fishermen and their fishing gears at will. They have ruined the businesses of so many people over the years here as they place huge fines or even destroy the boats as well as auction the boat engines to their Ugandan counterparts,” says one of the fishermen.
So far, unconfirmed reports indicate that more than 20 fishing boats have been impounded
Kahawa Tungu learns that the police from Uganda usually demand at least Ksh30,000 per boat.
“These are poor Kenyans who struggle daily to feed and educate their families and are now facing the reality of loosing their businesses. They are now contemplating of how they can find guns and militarize their boats so as to protect themselves from the Ugandans,” says a resident, who refused to be named.
The fishermen now blame the government of failing to protect its citizens, who have faced oppression since early 2000’s.
“I think that if this isn’t looked at by the government early enough then we are headed into another Turkana episode,” adds the resident.
In September 2018, six Kenyan fishermen were arrested by Ugandan police, and fined Ksh100,000.
In June the same year, more than 12 Kenyan fishermen were arrested by Ugandan policemen.
In November 2017, 17 Kenyan fishermen were arrested in Lake Victoria and detained on Ugandan islands by Ugandan security personnel.
In all these incidences, the government has been silent only promising to resolve the issues. After that the arrests and harassments remain a story.