KAMPALA – The dispute between Uganda and Kenya over the rocky island of Migingo in Lake Victoria has reared its head again in the Kenyan parliament, where an MP called for the “invasion of Uganda” if the matter can not be resolved by other means.
The contentious issue was brought up again in the Kenyan parliament on Wednesday, days after Ugandan police, who control the island, arrested two clerks from Kenya’s electoral commission while they were registering Kenyans living on the island for the forthcoming elections, Kenyan and Ugandan media reported on Thursday.
Calling for the invasion of Uganda if diplomatic channels failed to resolve the issue, MP Jakoyo Midiwo, from western Kenya, questioned why Kenya had invaded Somalia to protect its territory, but wasn’t prepared to take the same action against Uganda.
During his tirade Midiwo further labelled Uganda as “aggressive” and a “threat to Kenya’s sovereignty”.
“If the government is unable to use diplomatic channels, let us go to war to protect our frontiers,” he said.
However, cooler heads in the Kenyan government called for the flare up to be handled through diplomacy.
Kenyan minister for foreign affairs, Oryem Okello, said the issue would be handled diplomatically by East African Community ministers from both countries.
“It’s a regional issue that will be handled by the EAC,” Oryem said.
Ugandan foreign affairs minister, Sam Kutesa, said the issue would be solved by the joint verification committee established three years ago to demarcate the border.
The unresolved dispute has been ongoing since 2009, reported Uganda’s Daily Monitor.
A diplomatic row between the two countries arose in February 2009, when Kenyans living on Migingo were required to purchase special permits from the Ugandan government.
On March 12, 2009, a Ugandan government press release proposed that the matter be resolved by a survey, using a guideline for the boundaries set by the Kenya Colony and Protectorate Order in Council, 1926, which is copied into the Ugandan Constitution, and which identifies the boundary line as tangentially touching the western tip of Pyramid Island, and then running in a straight line to the western tip of Kenya’s’ Ilemba Island.
On March 13, 2009, several government ministers, including Foreign Affairs ministers, Kenyan Moses Wetangula and Ugandan Sam Kutesa met in Kampala and reached an agreement that the fishermen from both countries be allowed to continue conducting business as usual, until the boundary was determined by experts.
Africa News Agency