Friday, July 24, 2009



Thursday, 23rd July, 2009

Efforts to resolve the disputed ownership of the tiny Migingo Island in Lake Victoria have hit a stalemate.

First Deputy Prime Minister Eriya Kategaya said yesterday Uganda may consider taking the dispute to the International Court of Justice in The Hague or involve another country if Uganda and Kenya fail to agree.

Kategaya told MPs on the foreign affairs committee yesterday that the two governments had, however, not yet issued an official position. Although the Ugandan team did not participate in the final survey of the boundaries, he added, the Kenyan side declared the island to be in Kenya.

The Ugandans, he explained, had come back to Kampala for consultations and had presented their findings to the President. “However, the Government has not yet come out with an official position,” Kategaya said.

Kategaya made the remarks while updating the MPs on the dispute. He was in Parliament to defend his ministry’s budget.

Reacting to the Migingo update, Betty Amongi (Independent) said: “The Kenyans have declared that it is in Kenya. What is Uganda saying? What is the way forward?”

NRM MPs Onyango Kakoba and Hood Katuramu proposed that Government should quickly involve a third party before the issue gets out of hand.

The disagreement between the surveyors came over the erection of boundary pillars.

A source said whereas the Ugandans wanted to erect the pillars immediately, the Kenyans wanted that done after the boundaries had been agreed on.

The dispute put the joint team in disarray, prompting the Ugandan team to return to Kampala.

“Everything was fine but when they went into the phase of demarcating the boundaries, they disagreed on the approach,” the source said. The Ugandan position, according to the source, was in line with international requirements and the agreement the neighbours signed in May.

The Kenyans on Tuesday issued a preliminary report indicating that the one-acre island is 510 metres inside Kenya while the rest was in Uganda. Uganda rejected the report.