KISUMU, Kenya…The growing rift between the Uganda and Kenyan fishermen is threatening the mutual relationship and bolstered economic ties between the two neighboring East African Community nations, the Investigator is privy to this information.
The growing rift is getting worse due to the issue of where to fish and in which waters by the fishermen from Uganda and Kenya.
In what can be termed as retaliation for arresting 80 Kenyan fishermen last week, the Kenyan security on Tuesday did a similar act and impounded 19 boats and all its occupants belonging to Ugandan fishermen. The boats are currently being held at Nambo beach in Bondo Sub County in Kisumu.
Inspector Bernard Ongoro who led the three hour operation on Easter Monday told The Investigator on Wednesday that the Ugandan fishermen were nabbed fishing in Kenyan waters on Monday night illegally.
Though the Kenyan security downplayed allegation of retaliation, scores of Kenyan fishermen whom we talked too revealed how they were tortured, harassed and molested by the Ugandan police and security.
Police at Sigulu Islands confirmed the arrest, last week of the 80 Kenyan fishermen saying they had crossed the ‘RED’ line. Each of the arrested fishermen were fined Ugx 150,000 for illegal fishing. The scuffles come at a time when the operation, on illegal fishing, ‘Operation Paka Last 2050’ is taking center stage. Since it was launched on the orders of President Museveni, and supervised by Maj. James Nuwaga, the commander Enforcement Task Force, so far illegal fishing gears over Ugx 300 million have been destroyed.
Efforts to get a comment from Maj. Nuwagaba regarding the arrest of Kenyan fishermen and Ugandan fishermen were futile as his known lines where off.
But the Investigator has established that the Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma has raised the issue to President Uhuru Kenyatta who is currently on a state visit to Lake Town. We can confirm that the two respective ministers, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries, Willy Bett and his Ugandan counterpart, Vincent Bamulangaki Sempijja are set to meet to resolve the impulse.
Kenyan State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu would not confirm if President Uhuru Kenyatta would tackle the fisheries woes but acknowledged that Kenyatta who is set to commission the street lighting project in Vihiga County would review number of other development projects.
President Museveni early this year instructed that illegal fishing must be stopped if good money is to be realized. He warned that those arrested face a five to seven year jail term.