Namwamba re-ignites Migingo controversy by demanding Uganda surrenders it to Kenya (Daily Nation (Kenya))

ODM Secretary-General Ababu Namwamba has re-ignited the controversy surrounding the ownership of Migingo Island by demanding that Uganda surrenders it.

Speaking in Migori on Saturday, Mr Namwamba urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to resolve the matter, saying it could undermine the spirit of East Africa Community unity.

Let him tell his friend, (Yoweri) Museveni to surrender Migingo to us because it is within our territory, the Budalang’i MP said.

President Kenyatta should not waste his time discussing sugar imports whenever he is in Kampala; that is not helpful to us.

He termed Migingo as an important part of Kenya which should not be taken by a neighbour with expansionist tendencies.

The island has been at the centre of an ownership dispute between Kenya and Uganda since 2004.

Mr Kenyatta swore to protect the boundaries of Kenya and this island should top his agenda any time he flies to Uganda, Mr Namwamba said.

Migori Governor Okoth Obado lamented that Kenyan fishermen were still being harassed by the Ugandan authorities guarding the rocky island.

The governor said the dispute was undermining the letter and spirit of the East African Community (EAC) and the spirit of good neighbourliness.

If President Museveni of Uganda is our friend as he claims, then it is important for him to listen to the cries of our people and resolve this stalemate.

I have already taken up this matter with our National Government, the governor said.

SURVEY NOT YET COMPLETE

The two countries had set aside S40 million for surveyors to complete their job in determining the exact location of the densely populated island.

Even though former president Mwai Kibaki and former prime minister Raila Odinga had been assuring Kenyans that the island was located within the Kenyan territorial waters, the two leaders seemed to have done little in pushing for the completion of the survey work during their tenure.

The joint survey work stalled after the Ugandan surveyors pulled out of the joint team to ostensibly consult their seniors in Kampala before the announcement of the final outcome.

Reliable sources, however, indicated that the Ugandan officials were scared of being party to the possible declaration that the island was in Kenya for fear of reprisals from their government.

As of now, Kenyan and Ugandan security forces are co-managing the island as they await the resolution of the row.

Currently, both the Kenyan and Ugandan security officers are putting up at the makeshift mabati structures that are dotting Migingo and the nearby Ugingo islands.