Kenya Strikes Deal With Museveni in Island Dispute

In an unexpected twist, the Kenyan government on Thursday, November 7, eased its hardstand and agreed to share the disputed Migingo Island with Uganda.

According to the Daily Nation, the decision was arrived at even after President Kenyatta's government maintained that the island is in Kenya.

Monica Juma, the Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary stated that Kenya agreed to the deal with Uganda while having in mind the interests of Kenyans.

However, advocate Apollo Mboya disagreed on the merits of such a deal between two countries. He told that Migingo is a territorial part of Kenya and such a decision can't be arrived at without public participation and wide consultation.

Juma further stated that the MOU between Kenya and Ugandan authorities would enable fishermen from Kenya and other Lake Victoria residents and users to access either side of the boundaries.

“Kenyans should know that these boundaries are shared by communities across the countries, and we have to find a way to make them soft,” Juma affirmed.

The Foreign Affairs CS further assured Kenyans that the resources they needed from Lake Victoria would still be within their reach.

“My message to Kenyans is that we have their interests at the top of our minds and this can be realised by reducing the risks they face in accessing the trans-boundary resources,” she stated.

However, even as the deal was agreed on, the crucial factor of sharing resources was not deliberated on.

Kenya first complained about the Migingo dispute in 2009 when fishermen operating in South Nyanza accused Ugandan soldiers of harassment.

Before the government agreed to share the land with Migingo, Foreign Affairs PS Kamau Macharia described the dispute over the island as a perceptional problem.

Kamau stated, " "Migingo is a perception issue. For the people living in Migingo, for the fishermen being harassed due to circumstances over there, this is an existential thing."

However, lawyer Apollo Mboya who has expansive experience in international treaties disagreed with agreement and told that a territorial part of a country can not be shared with another country.

"This is an agreement that Kenya can not arrive at without consultation and public participation among the citizens. Migingo is a territorial part of Kenya and it just can't be easily shared," Apollo Mboya dded.

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