Kenya and Uganda have called a truce in the disputed Migingo Island, striking a deal to share with fishermen.
This is a reprieve to fishermen who have been engrossed in long term tussles and wrangles with authorities and police officers that led to their arrests and confiscation of properties.
It has been established that Kenya has agreed to share the Island with Uganda, coming after the Kenyan Government held their stand insisting that the Island is located in Kenya.
According to the brief by the Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) had been signed between Kenya and the Ugandan authorities, to allow for free access to the Island on either sides of the boundaries.
However, the final stage of the deal details moderation access management and sharing of resources which will be determined by the authorities after involvement through public participation.
“Kenyans should know that these boundaries are shared by communities across the countries, and we have to find a way to make them soft. My message to Kenyans is that we have their interests at the top of our minds and this can be realized by reducing the risks they face in accessing the trans-boundary resources,” stated Juma.
The Foreign Affairs CS also made a clarification in regards to the legal owner of the Island after the MoU agreement, stating that territorial integrity cannot be negotiated.
“Kenyans must know the territorial integrity of the country will never be negotiated away,” she said.
Migingo Island has created tension between the two countries, with Ugandan police acting rogue and arresting Kenyan fishermen as well as confiscating their fishing equipment.
In an incident on 28 July 2019, at least 30 fishermen were reportedly arrested by the Ugandan Revenue Authorities and detained after being caught fishing at Lake Victoria. 10 fishing boats and fishing nets were confiscated and others destroyed.
In another incident on September 7, 2019, three fishermen were arrested and detained for allegedly trespassing.
The Migingo Island is estimated to be three kilometers from Muhuru Bay in Migori County.