Joint teams says coordinators to solve Migingo Island dispute

Delegates recognised security and development challenges along the border including the Migingo Island dispute.

Friday March 18 2016

Rift Valley Regional Coordinator Wanyama Musiambo addresses journalists with other Kenya-Uganda Joint Border Commissioners delegates at the Noble Hotel in Eldoret on March 17, 2016 after a four-day meeting.  PHOTO | WYCLIFF KIPSANG | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Rift Valley Regional Coordinator Wanyama Musiambo addresses journalists with other Kenya-Uganda Joint Border Commissioners delegates at the Noble Hotel in Eldoret on March 17, 2016 after a four-day meeting. PHOTO | WYCLIFF KIPSANG | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By WYCLIFF KIPSANG
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Kenya and Uganda coordinators will be appointed to determine “once for all” where the disputed Migingo Island falls, said Joint Border Commissioners (JBC) on Thursday.

On Wednesday, MPs adjourned debate to discuss the island, which has been at the centre of dispute between Kenya and Uganda. Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo, who moved the adjournment motion, said the electoral commission who had gone there to register voters were arrested by Ugandan security agents and a police officer reportedly was shot dead.

Speaking on Thursday during the 11th JBC meeting in Eldoret, the delegates recognised the continued high level of mutual corporation by the two countries in addressing both security and development challenges along the border including on where the Migingo Island falls.

“The two countries have also resolved to expedite the necessary processes for the completion of the demarcation of the common border including marine boundary. Security arrangements for the marine boundary will be harmonised among all the stakeholders including immigration, customs, fisheries and police,” said Mr Wanyama Musiambo, the head of Kenyan delegation who is also the Rift Valley Regional Coordinator.

CROSS-BORDER ISSUES

Furthermore, the Joint Border Commissioners’ meeting also decided to streamline the vetting process for the acquisition of national identity cards in a bid to boost security at the porous border.

The Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery, represented at the four-day meeting by Mr Musiambo, lauded the meeting which he termed timely.

“Kenya and Uganda share many historical ties. We only have borders for administrative purposes but we are one people. The cross border meetings will go a long way in strengthening harmony,” said Mr Nkaissery.

The delegates resolved to continue to address international terrorism and related crimes, human trafficking, movement of asylum seekers, cattle rustling, proliferation of illegal and light weapons across the two countries as well as harmonise legislation on control of narcotics, alcohol and psychotropic substances.

“We want to promote cross border trade, elimination of non-tax barriers, enhancement of tax collection and related customs activities,” said Mr Geoffrey Okanga, the Kenyan High Commissioner to Uganda.

The Ugandan delegation led by special presidential assistant Mr Mayanja Muhammed Sadik and Uganda High Commissioner to Kenya Angelina Wapakhabulo said that Kenya and Uganda have a lot in common culturally and economically.

“We are seeking to achieve full bilateral relationship across the border. When somebody talks in Mombasa or Kampala, we want to be assured that our borders are secure,” said Ms Wapakhabulo.

The meeting was preceded by another JBC which was held in October 2014 in Mbale, Uganda. The next meeting is scheduled for March 2017 in Uganda.

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