MIGINGO RESIDENTS PROTEST RAILA’S CAMPAIGN PRESENCE IN UGANDA
Posted by African Press International on December 17, 2010
BY INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER. Kenya
KENYA’S Prime minister Raila Odinga’s move to attend presidential campaigns in Uganda Wednesday this week has received protests from residents of the disputed Migingo Island who perceived the visit as a show of support to the country’s president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
The residents said for a long time they have looked up to Raila to use his position in government to help them resolve the boundary row between Kenya and Uganda which has seen the two east Africa states spend huge a mounts of money to reevaluate the boundary and end squabbles pitying the Kenya fishermen residing at the tiny island and the Ugandan authorities in vain.
Led by beach management unit officials at the island, the Kenyan fishermen said the presence of the prime minister was a huge disappointment and a let down for them adding they have realised they have all along been hanging their hopes on false illusion.
”It is a pity to see a man we have hoped to be the one to come to our aid in ending the persistent harassment at the island can visit and campaign alongside the very government that has visited pain and suffering to poor Kenyans living at the island. We are really dissolutioned. It is like our leaders have secret agenda which we do not know but pretend to back efforts to resolve the controversy over Migingo.” said one of the bitter leaders.
Currently reports from the island indicates that fishermen collects up to 150,000 daily from the fish landed at the Island which they then hand over to the Ugandan marine police patrolling the island. The fishermen also take care of the officers in terms of feeding and accommodation daily even though they do not support continued stay of the Ugandans.
The fishermen have on several occasions complained of persistent harassment in the hands of the Ugandan police whom they accused also of taking away their catch and fishing gears worth thousands of shillings.
On many occasions the Kenyan fisherman have pleaded with their government to intervene but such pleas have been largely ignored with the local government representatives only accusing the fishermen of violating Kenyan waters.
Even though Raila was quoted as pushing during the Museveni rallies at Iganga in Eastern Uganda and Kigulu for a stronger cooperation with Kenya within the EAC, many residents of Migingo continued to raise doubts over whether regional integration will materialise.
Speaking after a meting with Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni at the state lodge in Jinja on Wednesday,the PM said close relations between Kenya and Uganda could quicken the consolidation of unity among the East African Community states.
The PM said the days of borders between the East African States are numbered,saying the region is moving towards a federation and Uganda and Kenya could lead the way.
Raila has also been viewed as a rival of Museveni and unconfirmed reports claimed foreign forces took part in the post-election chaos that rocked Kenya and was murky in Kisumu city where several youths were executed.
But during his visit Raila, said he admired the progress Uganda has achieved since the end of the brutal era of Idi Amin and Kenya has something to learn on post war integration.
He called for peaceful elections in February ,saying a stable and a peaceful Uganda is good for Kenya.
” I call upon all Ugandans to uphold peace during the elections. Let us maintain the cordial relations between the two countries”, Raila was quoted as saying by the PM press service.
The to leaders committed to forge closer ties , with Museveni describing Raila as ”a brother in the struggle ”while the PM acknowledged the support he received from the Ugandan president during the struggle for the second liberation in Kenya.
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