Home ECONOMY Migingo Island Tactics Similar to Those that Ousted Idi Amin

Migingo Island Tactics Similar to Those that Ousted Idi Amin

by biasharadigest

When Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Yoweri Museveni met for the commissioning of the Busia One-Stop Border Post (OSBP) in February 2018, no one expected to hear about Migingo Island.

In
a surprise revelation, Museveni said that the value for his people’s source of
livelihood was the reason he applied guerrilla tactics to control the small
rock island in Lake Victoria.

For
one, Museveni’s tactics involved sending soldiers to the disputed Migingo
Island, a move blamed for the continuous harassment of Kenyan fishermen.

The
Ugandan president spoke after a long-standing row between Kenya and Uganda over
the ownership of the 0.49-acre rock island. To date, the issue remains
unresolved with only cosmetic approaches which show cordiality between the two
countries but underneath tensions simmer.

Ownership of the island and the surrounding waters remains a mystery despite several interventions by leaders mainly from Kenya.

About Migingo Island

It
is a 0.49-acre of rock and can best be described as a rough outcrop in Lake
Victoria which is shared by three East African countries of Kenya, Uganda and
Tanzania.

Despite
the claims of teeming
with fish
in the shrinking lake, Migingo Island remains a noteworthy
geographical feature whose importance cannot be underestimated.

The
Island is a fishing hub where the surrounding waters is rich of Nile perch, a profitable
fish export
.

In
2008, Kenyan fishermen were barred from fishing in the waters around the Island
sparking a row between the two countries which threatened diplomatic relations.

President
Museveni then claimed that the water bordering the island is in Uganda while
the land is in Kenya.

He
later withdrew the statement after political pressure while the then Kenyan
President, Mwai Kibaki downplayed the stand-off. Kibaki assured Kenyans that
Migingo is in Kenya, despite the fact that at the time, Ugandan security
officers had set camp in the island.

A
joint border survey committee was later formed to review the process and end
the stalemate, though this did little to resolve the issue.

Why Museveni Used
Guerrilla Tactics

Museveni
said he was forced to apply “bush tactics” after the fisheries department
failed to salvage diminishing fish-stocks in the Lake. He likened the tactics to
those used to ouster Idi Amin.

“In
the past I used to think fish is snake. Those shepherds there don’t eat fish.
However, since old times, I used to see our people who lived there fishing. The
Rakai, Wakochi, Baganda, they used to fish. Then I realized fish is important
to some of our people,” Museveni narrated as quoted by The Exchange Africa.

He
said his decision to use armed personnel was simply to safeguard the fish
stocks from being depleted as a result of illegal fishing activities, and
ensuring the Lake does not end with dead zones.

“I
left it to the fisheries department because they are experts. I thought they
will save the lake, but where? Fish continued to diminish. So I decided let me
use my old tactics, bush tactics, the way we faced out with Idi Amin to
deal  with the law breakers,” Museveni
said.

When
Museveni visited Kenya in April last year, Migingo Island was part of the
agenda to be discussed between him and his Kenyan host, Uhuru Kenyatta.

During
this meeting, Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monicah Juma assured
that an amicable solution had been reached. The solution was that fishermen
from both countries would share the island and continue with their trade.

Interestingly,
the CS
stressed the island belongs to Kenya
adding that Ugandan policemen would be
withdrawn from the island and the waters around it to reassure the fishermen.

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