Constant harassment by Uganda forces to affect Kisumu port upgrade – Obado

A fisherman inspects his boats at disputed Migingo Island


Constant harassment of Kenyans by Uganda forces in Lake Victoria will affect the operation of the revamped Kisumu port, Migori governor Okoth Obado has said.

Obado said while the facelift was a booster to other small ports like Muhuru Bay, Sori, Homa Bay, Kendu Bay, and Asembo Bay, cases of Kenyan fishermen facing brutality in the hands of Ugandan police would work against the gains.

“The spirit of East Africa community is anchored on peace and freedom, but the frustrations Kenyans face on the hands of Uganda forces will hamper the impact of the port,” Obado said.

The governor said the Kisumu port will ease transport in the lake but expressed fears that many Kenyans may not fully utilize the chance for fear arrests.

He said currently locals around the lake are forced to go round the lake by road incurring a lot of costs but this was set to change.

He was speaking in Migori town when he received a five member delegation from Uganda led by their EAC chair George Abbot.

The delegation drawn from national and council governments came to check on unity of the region in line with the use of the Lake Victoria.

Obado asked the delegation to tell President Yoweti Museveni “to help resolve the contention surrounding Migingo Island which is in Kenya and end aggression of the country’s army on locals.”

“We are tired of unknown taxes being imposed on Kenyans, harassment and arbitrary arrests, as Lake Region Economic Bloc governors we need peace,” Obado said.

But Abbot said Uganda was keen on having an open border within East Africa Community to open trade, market by having better cooperation along the lake.

“We have modern border posts between the two countries in Malaba and Busia centers, we look forward to opening of the port to boost that,” Ouma said.

He said Uganda forces were only set to protect sustainability of the lake on fish stock and boundary matters.

The delegation also met with Migori county commissioner Joseph Rotich and residents of Muhuru Bay ward where the controversial Migingo Island is based.