Wednesday, July 29, 2009



July 29 2009

By John Oywa

Uganda has rejected a preliminary survey report indicating disputed Migingo Island is in Kenya, and now plans to take matter to the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

The country’s first Deputy Prime Minister Eriya Kategaya said they were also exploring possibilities of involving another country to help resolve the dispute if the two countries failed to agree.

Mr Kategaya was quoted in a section of Ugandan press saying Uganda may not have any option but to go to The Hague or involve another country.

He was responding to concerns by MPs who wanted to know the country’s position after Kenya laid claim to the Island.

Our Territory

One MP, Betty Amongi, is quoted to have said: "The Kenyans have declared that it (Migingo) is in Kenya. What is Uganda saying? What is the way forward?"

President Kibaki declared Migingo is Kenyan last week and told local leaders and fishermen to stop wasting time talking about the issue.

Speaking in Kendu Bay while on a tour of the Nyanza, the President said: "Migingo has belonged to Kenya from the beginning. It is in our territory".

Kibaki’s declaration came only a week after local surveyors said in a preliminary report obtained by The Standard the Island was indeed 510m inside Kenya.

The Standard has further learnt President Kibaki’s statement and the preliminary survey report have generated a lot of concern in Uganda.

Uganda’s Lands Ministry spokesperson Denis Obbo has also been quoted in the media dismissing the report.

Mr Obbo accused Kenya of reneging on a communiquÈ signed in May, which stated all surveying had to be done jointly.

He blamed Kenyan surveyors for going ahead with the exercise while the Ugandan team had returned to Kampala for consultations.

Post Police Officers

Obbo said: "What the Kenyans have done is not what was issued in the communiquÈ. The survey has to be done jointly. So, as far as we are concerned, anything that is not jointly done is unacceptable to Uganda".

Yesterday, Kenyan fishermen and local leaders asked Government to post police officers on the Island following the President’s announcement.

Nyatike MP Omondi Anyanga thanked the President and Prime Minister Raila Odinga for taking a firm stand on the dispute and asked Uganda to remove its forces from the Island.

The MP said the Island is in his constituency and wondered why Ugandan authorities were reluctant to let go yet all documents showed it is in Kenya.