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Joint team to tackle Migingo row

Monday March 21 2016

Migingo Island in Lake Victoria. Kenyan fishermen want the dispute over Migingo Island solved to stop their continued harassment by Ugandan security forces. PHOTO | ELISHA OTIENO | NATION MEDI  GROUP

Migingo Island in Lake Victoria. Kenyan fishermen want the dispute over Migingo Island solved to stop their continued harassment by Ugandan security forces. PHOTO | ELISHA OTIENO | NATION MEDI GROUP 

WYCLIFF KIPSANG
By WYCLIFF KIPSANG
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Kenyan and Ugandan officials have resolved to constitute a joint committee to end the Migingo Island dispute.

During the closure of the 11th Kenya-Uganda Joint Border Commissioners (JBC) meeting at the Noble Hotel in Eldoret last week, participants resolved that coordinators from the two countries be appointed in a bid to put the matter to rest.

The head of the Kenyan delegation, Mr Wanyama Musiambo, who read resolutions of the meeting, said the JBC would continue strengthening border control measures to curb the threat of international terrorism and related crimes.

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

The two countries also resolved to develop a plan for managing and regulating fishing and related activities in Lake Victoria.

The work also involves the general development of the fisheries industry.

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The four-day meeting also resolved to streamline vetting for the acquisition of national identity cards in a bid to boost security on the porous border.

Mr Musiambo said Kenya and its neighbour would jointly tackle human trafficking and the movement of asylum seekers across the two countries.

“Both countries will continue implementing and enhancing the existing mechanisms to address cattle rustling and the proliferation of illegal firearms as they are major threats to development and peaceful co-existence in the region,” said Mr Musiambo.

BORDER SECURITY
The meeting was preceded by another, which was held in Mbale, Uganda, from October 26 to 30, 2014. The next meeting is scheduled for March 2017 in Uganda.

The two countries also resolved to harmonise legislation on anti-narcotic drugs, alcohol and psychotropic substances.

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

“We are seeking to achieve better bilateral relations across the border. We want to ensure our borders are secure,” said Ms Wapakhabulo.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery, who was represented by Mr Musiambo during the opening of the meeting, praised the talks, 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 meeting was also attended by Kenyan High Commissioner to Uganda Geoffrey Okanga, among other senior officials in charge of administrative issues from the two East African countries.

“We want to promote cross-border trade, eliminate non-tax barriers, enhance tax collection and related customs activities,” said Mr Okanga.