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Migingo Island: What 1926 boundaries say

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But should Uganda go to war with Kenya?

Fishermen on the disputed Migingo Island. In the background is another island that forms the Migingo islands.Last week, Kenyan youths in Nairobi’s Kibera slum ripped away a section of the Uganda-Kenya Railway as demonstration of anger against Uganda’s “occupation” of the disputed Migingo island in Lake Victoria.

Earlier in the week, the Luo-Nyanza council of elders meeting under the aegis of the Nyanza Strategic Recovery Forum in Kisumu had threatened to block the highway to Uganda if the country [Uganda] did not immediately and unconditionally vacate the disputed Migingo Island. In the meeting chaired by Kochiel Oloo, the forum chairperson, the leaders resolved to mobilise the locals to block the transportation of goods and fuel to Uganda if her troops do not leave the island.

Indeed days later on April 16, Kenyan police fought running battles with youths who had placed logs, stones and other objects along the Kisumu-Kericho road to block transit cargo trucks to Uganda.

The Kibera and Kisumu actions are reminiscent of the 2007 post-election violence in Kenya in which the railway line was torn apart (again in Kibera) and Ugandan registered heavy haulage trucks ambushed to punish Uganda for allegedly siding with the Kibaki government that had stolen the presidential election. The disruptions caused a shortage of fuel and other imports, nearly bringing the Ugandan economy to its knees.

“Because the [Kenya] government has failed to help our brothers in Migingo, we will do it in the manner Ugandans understand best. Ugandans need to know we feed them. They should not try to intimidate the hand that feeds them,” a youth is quoted saying in Kenya’s daily newspaper, The Standard.

These actions are riding on a wave of rhetoric, demagoguery and hysteria by Kenyan politicians and the media that have over the past several weeks galvanised the country with many calling for war with Uganda to recover the island.

Kenya’s Assistant Defence Minister David Musila was quoted in the press saying; “Uganda has literally annexed Kenyan land by hoisting their flag and deployment of the security personnel at Migingo,” adding, that “what Uganda [is] doing was tantamount to aggression.”

Kenyan MPs Simon Mbugua (Kamukunji) and Omondi Anyanga (Nyatike) were also quoted in the local press challenging President Mwai Kibaki to speak out and show some macho: “If you cannot protect an island, how can you protect the whole country,” Mbugua asked.

Another seven MPs led by Nicholas Gumbo (Rarieda) petitioned President Kibaki to declare Uganda a “hostile neighbour” and forcibly take control of Migingo Island. They demanded that the navy and army be sent to the island. “Uganda is no longer a friend. It has invaded our land and it is time we acted to protect our sovereignty,” said Gumbo.

Last week, the hysteria that has consumed the Kenyan media reached a crescendo with an April 17 headline in The Standard: “Revealed: The truth on Migingo!”.

The article went on to disparage the joint boundary demarcation taskforce set up by the two governments a few weeks ago.

“The combined governments of Kenya and Uganda require two months to determine the case — but we today reveal the truth about who owns the island. The Standard team took just one week to lift the lid on the vexing question — it is Kenya’s. Period. And as politicians and government functionaries took Kenyans round in circles through diplo-speak, colonial maps from 1917 and updated in 1946 exclusively published in The Standard today indicate that Migingo — then known as Ugingo — is our sovereign territory. The maps define the boundaries of the then British territories of Kenya Colony and Protectorate, and are considered the authority in determining the boundaries. In the map, Pyramid and Ilemba islands are shown as belonging to Uganda,” the newspaper article read in part.

Taking a cue from its politicians and the media, several Kenyan internet blogs are awash with discussion of Migingo, with many agitated comments calling for war or the overthrow of “weakling” President Mwai Kibaki and “confused” Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

“Let us face the truth; Kenya is too soft on the Migingo row. How long will (Uganda President) Museveni continue bullying people of Great Lakes Region. Tz, Rwandans, Sudan and DRC all tired of this man. Uganda has never won any war; they failed to catch Kony, failed in DRC and are failing in Somalia. Kenya needs a military leader to deal with all the increasing insecurity in Kenya, Somalia and the entire region,” said one blogger on The website has posted photos of Kenyan military personnel, equipment and armour, perhaps to demonstrate the country’s military abilities.

Another blogger on the same site posted this: “Time out for Museveni, Kibaki and Raila. The Kenya PM is another confused fellow, he does not see the future clearly, begging for power from his own government, he has the power to order the Kenya Navy to have their presence in Lake Victoria, he has the powers to order the security to take action. Kenya Navy presence is needed in Migingo as the negotiation is on. Raila should not behave as if he is an assistance minister, crying daily in the press. Mr Odinga seems confused to me too; does he really know that he took oath to protect Kenyans. No country plays politics with borders; Raila’s behaviour in this saga clearly shows us his weakness, even if he became President of Kenya. Sending Kenya Navy units to Lake Victoria will cost Kenya nothing.”

Yet another blogger at posted this: “If I was Kibaki, I would use this opportunity to display my military might. Every man has that deep seated desire to twanga [beat] another man shitless. At least he would leave with the legacy ‘That Kabaki was a fence sitter, but if you ate his goat, may God help you!’”

Ironically as Kenya works itself into frenzy, Ugandan authorities and the public have been calm, preferring to wait for the findings of the joint boundary commission.

“There is no need to get excited. We know where the island belongs – in Uganda, and this will be established soon when the joint commission completes its findings in the next one month,” Bukhooli South MP Patrick Ochieng in whose constituency the disputed island arguably falls told The Independent last week.

The Uganda media too has been sober in its reporting of the dispute, except perhaps for the Kenyan-owned Nation TV (NTV) in Kampala which has periodically transplanted Kenyan news clips to its Ugandan audience complete with Kenyan reporters without sensitivity. The TV station is managed by Kenyans – at editorial, business and even management level. 

So where is the truth in all this? What could be the likely regional fallout when the dispute is finally resolved – diplomatically or militarily, that is if sections of the Kenyan public and politicians have their way?

So who owns Migingo?

The word “migingo” means abandoned in Luo and indeed for years, the three islands collectively known as Migingo in Lake Victoria near the Tanzanian border had no human habitation.

Squabbling over dwindling fishing resources has however put one of the islands in dispute. A joint Kenyan-Uganda technical committee established to study and demarcate the border is expected to report its findings to the two governments on May 15.

While the Luo of Kenya might have given the islands their current name, their sovereignty will be determined by the 1926 British colonial demarcations that established the two countries.

The team will therefore mainly rely on the very elaborately written-out British Order in Council of 1926 that established the current Uganda-Kenya boundary complete with coordinates, pillars and natural features. It will also rely on Schedule 2 of the Uganda Constitution (1995) – which was simply transplanted from Schedule 1 of the 1967 Uganda Constitution, The Kenya Colony and Protectorate (Boundaries) Order in Council 1926, and Kenya Legal Notice No. 718 of 1963, Schedule II Boundaries, Part I, the Districts, 37. Busia District, pp. 290–2.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Isaac Musumba (R) and his Kenyan counterpart Richard Onyonka address the press over Migingo saga in Nairobi on April 17.The Independent has seen the contents of these documents (see quotes from Uganda and Kenya constitutions) and they are fundamentally in agreement save perhaps for the fact that the Uganda Constitution’s starting point of delineating its eastern border is at the tri-point of Uganda, Kenya and Sudan which is approximately 31.5 miles north of Mt Zulia and ending at the tri-point of Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya which is at the first parallel south (1˚ south latitude) and approximately 33˚ 56´ east longitude. Kenya’s boundary delineation on the other hand begins in Lake Victoria, at the Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya tri-point (which is not in dispute) and ends at the Sudan, Uganda and Kenya tri-point.

The same information is contained in “International Boundary Study No. 139 – August 27, 1973 of Kenya – Uganda Boundary” by the US State Department, and another publication; “African Boundaries: A Legal and Diplomatic Encyclopaedia” by Ian Brownlie of Royal Institute of International Affairs and published by C. Hurst & Co. Publishers (1979) in which the Kenya-Uganda border is described on page 946.

Overall, the Kenya-Uganda boundary extends for approximately 580 miles (933 kilometres), and the Lake Victoria segment is approximately 86 miles (138 kilometres). It is important to note that the colonial boundary demarcations in Lake Victoria followed natural features that principally included the thalweg of River Sio and a chain of islands with straight connecting points.

A thalweg is defined in English (geology) as “the line defining the lowest points along the length of a river bed or valley. In international law, it is regarded as “the middle of the main navigable channel of a waterway that serves as a boundary line between states.”

Kenya Minister James Orengo (C) at Migingo.The Uganda-Kenya Lake Victoria boundary therefore starts (or ends whichever way you choose to look at it) in the middle point of the mouth of River Sio near Majanji, runs in a straight line up to the northern most point of Sumba Island, following the western shore of the island up to its southern most point and from there in a straight line to the northern most part of the next island, Mageta, through the same straight course to the next Ilemba (or Remba) island straight to the next Kiringiti (or Ringiti) island and straight to Pyramid island and then straight to the Tanzania, Uganda Kenya tri-point at 1˚ south and 33˚ 56´ east.

It important to note that all the islands that were used as natural boundary features lie wholly in Kenya with Uganda owning all the water west of the islands up to the shoreline and any islands west of those islands and the straight line between them.

The answer to the current dispute therefore lies with the Pyramid island demarcation. Pyramid Island apparently forms part of the three islands known as Migingo and it takes its name from its pyramidal shape. It is wholly in Kenya and there is no dispute about it. The third island lies further south and it is wholly in Uganda, and there is no dispute about it. To determine in which country the disputed one-acre Migingo lies is therefore a question of determining whether it is west or east of Pyramid. If it is west, then it is in Uganda and if it is east, then it is in Kenya. Period!

According to Bukhooli MP Ochieng, “That Migingo Island is west of Pyramid and even the Kenyan fishermen in Uganda know the truth. It is the only one of the three islands where a boat can dock. When we visited the place with Kenyan MPs, they were shocked and some conceded that they had spoken without knowing what’s on the ground. They said their problem is how to manage the politics so that they appear to have taken something back home,” he told The Independent.

Google Earth images which the MP said do not give accurate representation of distances also show that the disputed island is west of Pyramid Island. However, Google Earth inaccuracies have been apparent and are adding to the confusion. When The Independent published an article titled “Politics of Fish in Migingo Dispute” in our Issue 50 of March 6-12, Google Earth indicated Mageta Island as Migingo A and another unknown island side-by-side as Migingo B. The two islands were located south of Sumba Island and adjacent to Sigulu Island. Google Earth has subsequently updated its images now showing the disputed island as Migingo C further south and west of Pyramid which is not named but whose shape is unmistakable when zoomed in.

Ugandan flag flying at the IslandThe confusion, it is apparent, has not been limited to Google Earth but even to the old maps Kenyan politicians and media seem to be hanging onto when mapping technology of the early 20th century could never have been 80% accurate.

For instance in the 1917 and 1947 maps which Kenya’s The Standard newspaper published last week as the most authoritative on the issue, the paper claimed that “in the map, Pyramid and Ilemba islands are shown as belonging to Uganda”. Should Kenya use these maps as the definitive authority, not the 1926 British Order in Council documents or their constitution, then the country could lose both islands – which are much bigger than the disputed Migingo – to Uganda, perhaps sparking even a bigger crisis.

Why is Kenya war-mongering?

To understand Kenyans’ hysteria over Migingo, pundits have pointed to two factors – the dwindling fish resources of Lake Victoria, and the political and ethnic fissures in the country that are a spillover of the violence that followed its December 2007 disputed presidential election.

The orchestra leading the tirade over Migingo has been mostly the opposition and Luo leaders like Lands Minister James Orengo, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, etc but also PNU politicians disgruntled with President Kibaki’s leadership. Both these groups lead a constituency whose hopes were raised in the 2007 ethno-election but who have got nothing to show from the coalition government more than one year later.

The coalition government is itself under severe strain following several incidents of intra-party and inter-party disagreements. Only three weeks ago, two PNU ministers Martha Karua and Dickson Mungatana resigned. The credibility of leading opposition leaders like Agriculture Ministers William Ruto and Raila Odinga is also under the spotlight with allegations of corruption in the food storage scandal that rocked the country recently.

Kenya is still consumed by the fallout of the ethnic conflicts that saw more than 1,500 people murdered in the post-election violence – much of it graphically captured on international television stations. Many senior politicians fanned this violence and have been named in the famous former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan “envelope”. They could be tried for crimes against humanity either in Kenya or failure of that, in The Hague.

The country is also in the midst of a famine with more than three million people facing starvation. In parts of the country, people are boiling old goat skins and cow hides for a meal.

Added to that is the strained economy that has not fully recovered from the election crisis and now with the world financial crisis has spewed hundreds, if not thousands, of Kenyans out of jobs.

In short, Kenya is experiencing a potentially explosive mix; a socio-political and economic crisis that some of its leaders seem to be addressing through rhetoric and demagoguery and may even be willing to go to war to deflect domestic pressure. It is an old trick in the political books.

Uganda’s State Minister for International Affairs Henry Okello Oryem however downplays the potential of the crisis to go out of hand.

“Contrary to what you are exaggerating in the media there is no cause for alarm. I can assure you that in principle the two countries are in contact and all the modalities agreed on to end this confusion on Migingo are being worked on. The two army chiefs of Kenya and Uganda are in contact, the police chiefs are in contact and there is absolutely no cause for alarm,” Oryem told The Independent.

Asked to comment on the recent outbursts by some Kenyan politicians who urged their citizens to defend what they termed as Uganda’s aggression including cutting the rail line in Kibera, Oryem insisted that that was an internal matter which can only be answered by those Kenyan politicians.

“I can’t comment on that. Ask them why they are doing that. However, those are self-seeking politicians who are targeting cheap dividends out of the whole thing. But I don’t think they will go very far,” he concluded.

What is the likely fallout?

It is apparent that Migingo will not be resolved by war not just because of the utter foolishness of such a venture but also the impracticability of it (the little island cannot hold a battalion of soldiers) unless the war is fought on land – at Busia, Malaba, Suam, or any other border areas.

Yet whichever way the Migingo dispute is resolved, there will be far reaching implications for the two countries that may eventually affect the progress of the East African Community. The crisis has generated so much distrust and demonstrated that parochial nationalism runs skin deep in the region, especially in Kenya.

But the biggest fallout will likely be in the fishing waters of Lake Victoria where Uganda is likely to tighten border control and fishing restrictions to non-nationals. According to MP Ochieng, Uganda has been requiring Kenyan fishermen to pay an annual fishing licence fee of UShs 1 million (Kshs 40,000) while Kenya extracts a fine (which makes up for a licence) of the equivalent of UShs 5 million (KShs 200,000) once Uganda fishermen are caught fishing there.

Shacks crowd the dome-shaped Migingo Island contested by Uganda and Kenya.Uganda might therefore consider upping the figure to match Kenya’s or go the Tanzanian way. Tanzania does not allow any foreigners to fish in its water and there are severe fines and jail sentences to deter this. Whichever way, Kenya’s fishermen will be the biggest losers.

“By focussing on the small Migingo island, Kenyans lost sight of the bigger picture. Kenya has only 6% of the lake which is too small to sustain its many fishermen and fish factories in Kisumu,” said MP Ochieng, adding that they could inadvertently have woken up Uganda to strengthen its marine security and revenue policing.

There is also the issue of hundreds, if not thousands of Kenyan fishermen operating from inner Uganda islands like Sigulu, Wayasi, Hama, Lolwe, Bumba, etc. In fact Kenyans make up about 60% of the island population in Bugiri and Mayuge districts. This crisis has created insecurity among the Kenyans and if new national restrictions come into place, they may have to renounce their citizenship and become naturalised Ugandans or keep their citizenship and be subjected to a harsh fishing regime requiring work permits and annual fishing licence.

Big Kenya-owned businesses like Uganda Breweries Ltd (owned by East African Breweries in Nairobi), Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), Bidco, Unilever, etc could also potentially suffer a backlash from the Ugandan public should Kenya escalate the crisis, as would Kenyan heavy haulage truckers that dominate regional transport, and Kenyan professionals who are beginning to dominate the business management and marketing positions in Uganda. Thousands of Kenyan students studying in Uganda could also be exposed to hostilities.

Naturally, regional trade would be disrupted with Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, eastern DR Congo and South Sudan suffering disruption. Ironically, Kenya too would not be spared as Kenyan companies would not access their markets in Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.

It is therefore a symbiotic relationship and Kenyans need to understand that they are doing Uganda no favours to let its goods through her territory, and therefore high school arguments about blocking roads are in the end unsustainable, self-defeating and a little childish.

Lessons for Uganda

Be that as it may, Uganda needs to quickly and urgently develop alternative import and export routes to the sea. The Southern Corridor through Dar es Salaam and Tanga ports is the natural option, even though it means Ugandan imports would have to be ferried over a distance of 1,912km to Kampala through Mutukula as opposed to the shorter Mombasa-Kampala distance of 1,190km.

The political stability of Tanzania, secure transit routes, cheaper port charges, less corruption and bureaucracy and a peace of mind would be enough compensation for the additional cost of 700km or one extra transit day.

The Dar es Salaam-Dodoma-Isaka-Mutukula route to Uganda is now in a good condition, apart from a short stretch of 60km between Chikuyu and Manyoni that is still being worked on. Uganda should also join hands with Tanzania to improve the Central Railway to Dodoma and Mwanza, and get its wagon ferries (and buy more) back to work.Rwanda is already leading the way and is jointly working with Tanzania to extend the railway to Kigali.

And there are lessons to pick from history. When the Idi Amin regime in 1970s put Kenya at ransom over electricity exports, switching on and off whenever there was a disagreement, Kenya invested in small hydro and thermal power plants and in the end produced more power than Uganda and thus forever curing the power threat. The Mombasa route could therefore be downgraded in a few years.

If Uganda does not implement this, Kenyans will maintain a formidable threat on Uganda’s economic lifeline. War, however, would leave both countries mortally wounded as happened in the Iraq-Iran war of the 1980s.

Comments (44)Add Comment
written by theczar, April 29, 2009
the writer of this article if ugandan is an idiot and unpatriotic!
written by tibaijuka, April 29, 2009
I really wonder what the hullabaloo is all about in Kenya and Uganda. This problem can be solved by two fishermen, one from Kenya and the other from Uganda. Just give the a GPS and they`ll goo to Migingo in canoe and they`ll tell us where the Island lies. No expenses, no shouting, no railway uprooting
written by kasuku, April 29, 2009
Kenyans will always take Ugandans for granted. Compared to Kenya, Ugandans are very unpatriotic and resigned, we hardly love our country. We all remmember when Kenya under Moi ordered hostility towards Ugandans and their deportation (1987-90), this was followed by mass imprisonment and consfication of property of ugandans. Kenya has taken root into the ugandan business stage. We hardly find any business in kampala that does not have kenyan personnel. Ugandans are constantly being harassed by these kenyan managers who regard us as unqualified, slow and backward and yet we do nothing as ugandans.
Like Kenya, Ugandans are constantly being harassed in Sudan, Rwanda and Tanzania. The Uganda government is well aware but little has been done. Its time for Ugandans to demand respect and press our leaders to instil morals and patriotism that is not party based in the population. Not until Ugandans love their country, our neighbours will always take us for a ride. We also need to explore further Dar es salaam as our point of entry for goods as Mombasa is increasingly becoming a liability.
written by Fred Opolot, April 29, 2009
smilies/sad.gif My boss likes using military tactics to solve everything while hiding behind his personal parasitic PGB , Kenya is not FDC and soft prey for dilapitated UPDF , I call upon my boss m7 to abandon greed with guns and live upto his East African community freams if ever he has any dream except his full pockets , Shame he is now in Arusha talking crap wasting tax-payers money , shame
written by James Wafula, April 29, 2009
The reader who identifies himself as The Czar, above, if he is Ugandan, then he is the idiot and unpatriotic. Such a well researched, balance and professional article can even be understood my the most foolish.
Anyway, I agree with the analsys in the article and I hope the Kenyan readers will have good access to it.
millitay man
written by kyamanywa, April 29, 2009
Kenyans must stop undermining Ugandans, for what they think they are.
First they are unqualified people to begin verb ling there nasty words to Ugandans.
Kenyans should keep off war drums
In recent times, there has been tension building up between Uganda and Kenya over the plight of this tiny Migingo Island on Lake Victoria. Press reports in Kenya have been awash with rants from political leaders as well as many Kenyans whose writings and utterances have urged for military solution to resolve the problem. Thanks to the Kenyan military commander who categorically stated that such squabbles are for politicians and not the army.
The climax of this madness reached its peak when a group of rowdy youths from Kibera, as usual, dismantled the railway line that serves Uganda’s import/export interests. How ludicrous!
Fundamentally, this commotion is not called for. However, this event heralds an underlying misconception that Kenyans have long held about Ugandans.
Kenyans think that they are of some superior quality, of higher civilization echelon, more advanced and sophisticated than their conflict-minded, chaos-studded English-only speaking Ugandans. But to assuage to this kind of misguided perception, Kenyans must wake up to face the fact that although President Museveni is a regional bully, Ugandans as a whole, are very understanding and have wished for peace for long - something they have taken for granted!
Besides, harassing Ugandan facilities and threatening Ugandans living in Kenya with harm over Migingo is definitely an undershot, because there are so many Kenyans studying and living in Uganda. Further, both countries have existed as brothers along many fronts. Therefore, our common history and aspirations must not be hinged on this small and useless island.
Understandably, Kenyans have just tasted the aura of violence following their last botched-up presidential elections. But if it is politics, then the two countries have a lot in common. Both countries rig elections and are ruled by presidents whose election victories have been contested.
War must not be revoked over stupid issues; wars must only be fought when all civilised options have been exhausted. Kenyans do not know war and have never have to live with the devastating effects of war, so they should keep away from that rather lousy chest-thumping. For your own sake, the UPDF has vast records and experiences in the region for causing serious harm to its enemies. Please be advised!
We fight to liberate the country, but not to liberate the migingo rock, in that case, if you’re requesting for war, we have security guards alone are the level of your military capacity or understanding, but not UPDF or Military Police from Uganda should attend to your invitations of war. We are sorry.
Continue with your drums if you think that. Ugandans are the right people you should exercise with your military solutions or actions……….. The only wised way for you is, you should have thought in diplomatic ways. Not military actions. you idiots
the analyst
written by Major Lubengo, April 30, 2009
Uganda and Kenya are brothers for pete's sake we should be looking at bigger things like promoting the 'RUTAKE' (Rw,Ug,Tz,Ken) trade & development
my solution is we move all the people off the island then
We should bomb it, sink it, and there will be no more trouble
long live M7. long live Ug, long live RUTAKE .
written by General, April 30, 2009
Uganda should deploy security personel on all its islands bordering Kenya.Don't take these guys for granted these are very hard economic times.You don't play in your host's kitchen!Soon they will claim part of Sigulu and other islands as theirs
Migingo exposes Kenya's thirst for more blood
written by Ocan, April 30, 2009
I have read the Kenyan newspapers and they are all a wash of inflamatory statements. I don't know if this might country thinks Migingo even ifit was to be given to them it would solve the problem of hunger that has put Kenyans in world chats. Its good the reporter brought out the issue of NTV UGANDA, no doubt they have good machines and Ugandans who are treated like trash but Kenyans at the station broadcast for us Kenyan news. Remember the story on Radio Katwe where one of their workers was crying out about mistreatment by Kenyans. It's time our government looked into investigating such incidents of Ugandans being tortured at work. NTV should get Ugandan managers so then It can be called NTV Uganda. I am sure M7 can call Aga Khan to address this. Thats why the relay information about Migingo from Kenya instead of sending a Ugandan to report on the Island.
security officer
written by Benjamin, April 30, 2009
the honest approach to this issue is let uganda surender the island period! refer back the colonial bounderies, uganda was inside kenya stretching lake Naivasha or Nakuru do you want, we accepted kenya to be curved. let bye gones be bye gones period opening this small is like opening a can of worms or viruses, what are benefiting from Migingo, let Kenya take it and the situation rests period! if we continue, as the youths have rioted, they end up worsening our economy stand when we used to buy fuel at 3,000 a litre. we have other things to do not to cry split milk! the commission should favour Kenya for our interests to avoid confusion
written by Benjamin, April 30, 2009
the honest approach to this issue is let uganda surender the island period!
Refer back the colonial bounderies, uganda was inside kenya stretching lfrom lake
Naivasha or Nakuru. We accepted and kenya added to its terrirory. let bye-gones be
bye gones period! opening this small issue is like attempting to open a can of worms or viruses,
what are benefiting from Migingo,Let Kenya take it all and the situation rests
period! I liked the presidents decision in the summit and said that it belongs to kenya though a cmomission is invesitigating this. but its also a waste of time and money .I am fore looking at the situation escalating with the kenya youths to worsen the situation and hence bringing down our economy like fuel in the past at 3,000 a litre; other utilities may disappear we as the road and rail lines will be unpassable. Ugandans cannot treat to cry spoilt milk! if the deal has gonr sour let it go never follow lest it backfires! I davise the commission should favour Kenya for our interests
to avoid confusion
we have enough and need rests

written by Girrafe, April 30, 2009
The truth is whether Migingo belongs to Uganda or not, we must negotiate. Any Ugandan agitating for war with a neighboring country now needs a lecture on geopolitics. As a matter of fact Uganda is currently too polarized (read divided) to sustain any foreign war. The M7 1989 would have reached Eldoret by now but he knows he is too unpopular at home to war monger. He can instigate his own oust like Idi Amin. People are so tired of him that if he ever threatens to go to war 80% of his own people would support his adversaries. Who knows? May be Migingo saga has come to liberate many.
written by Kazooba, April 30, 2009
I am certain this is one of the best pieces from you guys. It surely paints the correct picture. However, you forgot or probably deliberately left out the Odinga factor. Do u doubt he is hitting back because of Museveni's acknowledgement of Kibaki as Kenyan president immediately before the election dust could settle?
written by patrick, April 30, 2009
Let them just blow up those Migingo rock and we forget about it. alternatively even if they take the migingo rocks, Govt should block them from fishing in our waters!
written by Oloo Alepa, May 01, 2009
Mr President (of course Museveni), thank you for your sober approach to the Migingo issue. I am so proud of you. Now, to the foolish Kenyans (not all of them are), stop holding us at ransom. The government should start looking at Dar es sallam port for transport, straight into Lake Victoria and port bell. The Kenyans think since we are paying them to send us our goods then they are offering a service of charity, damn them, damn their leaders even more. Oh, by the way, im toying with the idea,since we learnt how to boycott goods(remember the Mabira lugazi sugar boycott), why don't we boycott all Kenyan businesses? starting with the monitor newspaper, to Nakumatt, to Uchumi, and any other company that employs Kenyan managers or staff like NTV. Also, why don't we chase the lousy bastards from our universities, starting with KIU then eventually makerere? And to be even more patriotic, we should take a Kenyan life for every Ugandan life taken over this Migingo issue. We are sick and tired of this Kenyan problem, if possible, we should just do what Amin did, drive the bastards to Mombasa and eventually into the Indian ocean. Show them who controls the region, and which soldiers are most feared and patriotic. I promise to volunteer in any war over Migingo, and every Ugandan should, out of patriotic duty, do the same. I am Luo, but my luoness ends when it comes to issues involving my Ugadnaness, so if the Luos of Kenya think they will have support of other Luos in the region, go to HELL, we know you think you went to hell during your days of political violence, but you haven't aint been to hell yet.
written by Simba wa Nyika, May 01, 2009
I commend my fellow Ugandans for being mature. Those who have lived in Kenya should that Kenyans hate all Ugandans, not just our president. I marvel that Kenya that was once called an island of peace has deteriorated into such a state of anarchy, with no sound leadership, sounding war drums and inviting their professional military to go to war with Uganda over fish. Kenyans should remember that Ugandan schools and universities are full of Kenyan students? Why? Deep inside them they admire Uganda, the Pearl of Africa. Uganda with its fertile soils, lakes and rivers, has not suffered starvation the way Kenyan wanainchi do year after year because of the arid conditions in some of their provinces, including Kalonzo Musyoka's Ukambani. What is the significance of 'Migingo' that Kenyans should call for war over 'trespassed' sovereignty? If you harm Ugandans in Kenya, sure we shall 'protect' Kenyans in Uganda.
let experts determine the owner
written by egidius, May 02, 2009
kenyans very well know the island belongs to Uganda and that is why they have startet saying that they do not need a techinical team to find out what is theirs. Please Kenyans especially the Kibera dwellers leave the experts tell us who owns the island and we continue to co-exist. we all need each other.
Migingo Scam
written by ponkas, May 02, 2009
I think both the kenyans and Ugandans are being taken for a ride by Mr. Kibaki and his best friend Mr. Museveni. Do we ask ourselves who is really going to pay for the so called 140 Million KES Survey??? To my understanding i think this another scandle that the two Watukufu if not Watukutu have on their drawning table. :evil:
written by frank, May 02, 2009
Museveni should not use the standoff in migingo to send his PGB people to our districts of Busia and Bugiri to make our people more poor through robbery of our properties in pretend of protection as they did in congo. Please watch out.
written by Magwara Mate, May 03, 2009
I thank the gov't and people of Uganda for the calm way they have so far approached the Migingo question. They have demonstrated high level patriotism which some war mongers in Kenya should not take for weakness. Hooliganism as manifested in Kibera slum in Nairobi and some parts of Kisumu should not be mistaken for a show of patriotism on the part of Kenyans as some people may suggest.

Whoever lied some people that the UPDF is a dilapidated force must have done them a big disservice. These are experienced fighters that have worked hard to defend Uganda from destruction by negative forces. I have no doubt that those praying for war would one day see the truth of the matter. Let them throw the first stone.

The agitators of war in Kenya should wait for the outcome of the technical team instituted by the two countries. Such situations are not solved by a mere outpour of emotions. Such politicians making inciting and provocational statements are certainly not helping their country. They will be the first to flee at the blast of the first bomb when innocent Kenyans are dying.

Let us use peaceful mechanisms to solve such disagreements.
written by Adam, May 04, 2009
Let us stop glorfying the evils committed by hte british colonialists!!!! Long before the British came to Africa we harvested the resources without this "II AM UGANDAN" and "YOU ARE KENYAN" madness!!!! Let us work towards wiping out these imaginary lines drawn by some white folks and lets get on with a united Africa!
written by NSUBUGA, May 04, 2009
Uganda is not a country to provoke its neighbours if we are to retrieve our land that was given to kenya before the colonial days then i dont know how the intensity of this issue would be ,Just a little bit of our military campaign, restoration of peace and security in Rwanda 1994,keeping peace in DRC and Somalia, disentangling the kony rebels and we wouldnt love to annex our brothers the kenyans with whom we have studied with and given bussiness opportunities, if you think you want war then you are the most nonsense person to provoke a sleeping lion
written by mau mau, May 05, 2009
funny how Ugandans think Kenyans hate them,infact we have nothing against you,and neva in a thousand years will Kenya wage war with our neibhouring countries,we follow a non partisan,non agrression policy since independence and wouldnt want to destroy such credentials for something that can be solved diplomatically. Infact it would be a blow to your m7 who would like a unified East africa with him the first leader. Nhu our politicians(kenyan) are jingoistic and not every sane kenyan wants any type of war. Our media are doing a poor job at solving the migingo issue and rallying kenyans to pressure our army into action,but our army knows better than to take part in a senseless war that would plunge the economy into deeper recession,we know our country is facing a myraid of problems but come on Ugandans aren't you experiencing the same and so are the majority of African countrie. but truth be told,don't take our kindness for weakness and let not Kenya be driven into war talks by our silly politicians who will flee to their European mansions when the bombs start dropping.and oh,thank you Ugandans for enabling our citizens to acquire cheap university education
written by Jjemba Hamidu, May 05, 2009
:angry: :confused: :!: :!: :!:
Ugandans, or fellow Africans wake up please. our leaders now are straggleing only for their abdmens with their families ONLY , nolonger in need of the citizens. please fellow Africans let us pester for our govenments from wherever your, no need for guns becouse its we to die like fish in the lake victoria. Members no need for war, its we to drive them not them to drive us they are just our leaders please take care. HAMIDU JJEMBA
written by commando, May 05, 2009
now i speak militarrily, UPDF can take on Kenyan's military strength??let no one not even ua m7 cheat you,that would be going to far.
The Kenya Armed Forces Standing Operation Strategies are formulated on the simple principle of Clear and Present National Interest. Each year, each new class at our War Games Schools spread all across the Country review and update detailed and precise War Plans against all manner of real and imagined Enemies of Kenya, Uganda included. And for years in all these simulated War Games, Kampala effectively capitulates(falls to our army) in 72 to 84 hours from the onset of Hostilities. International Pressure soon thereafter bring this theatre to a close.
I want to state categorically, and I invite the UPDF to present contrary opinion, that the Uganda lacks an effective large-scale fighting army, the UPDF being primarily a political tool of projecting means of violence to cower an impressionable population. The UPDF has never been seriously tested with positive results, and largely has faced disorganised, ill-equiped, ill-trained, ill-led, ill-motivated rag-tags units in Uganda, Sudan and Congo. The UPDF lacks the means to rapidly deploy aggressor units, lacks any credible anti-armour capacity, lacks mobility of a fighting mobile armoured force, lacks an air-borne dispersal capability, lacks an interceptor air-arm, has no air bombardment capacity, has a very poor command-communication ability, has no credible Intelligence / reconnaissance Capacity, in fact can be likened only to the grossly over-rated “Gum-boot” Rwandaise Army with their near similar capacities to the Kenya GSU and the new Kenya AP RDF.
I can go on forever, as this is essentially what I do for a living - analyzing the threat matrix, daily, and the complex numerous appropriate responses. If you are not Military, I would suggest you keep your offensively ignorant comments on Military matters, altogether to yourself.
written by tortoise, May 05, 2009
don't provoke a sleeping lion who are rated 6th most professionals army in Africa. Kenya is advanced militarilly and our army generals who recruit 14 year olds into our military know that!
No need for war
written by Dian Kenneth, May 05, 2009
Kenyans have never had any serious war, have they? Well, in Uganda, we have tasted it and it is bitter! Kenya should therefore not pray for one! Only a fool would ask for a blood bathe

The importance of Uganda to Kenya and vice versa has been well emphasised by the bloggers. However, I would like to think that, Uganda is more important to Kenya than Kenya is to Uganda. Uganda does not just provide market for Kenyan goods, it also provides routes to other important Kenyan markets such as Southern Sudan, Rwanda, and Eastern DRCongo. What will happen to the Kenyan economy if Uganda closes its Market to Kenya goods and also closes the routes to other Kenyan markets? Just look at the collapse of the economy in the US having a ripple effect in countries as far as China and Japan just because US provides the biggest market for goods from these countries! A collapse in the economy of Uganda will also create a collapse of the economy in Kenya because Kenya will have no where to sell the goods it sells.

I like the solutions people have given here. One alternative is we bomb the island; the other ,we toss a coin and whoever gets the head takes the Island; the other suggestions have been given by Harry Sagara of Daily Monitor: Organise arm wrestling between M7 and Kibaki, or a beauty contest between Lucy Kibaki and Janet Museveni. The country that wins the contests takes the Island

Uganda government should also look for alternative routes to the sea: e.g. through Tanzania to Indian ocean; using the nile river to the red sea to access North African, European and Asian markets, and a railway line through DR Congo to the Atlantic Ocean to access markets in central African, South Africa, West African, Europe and North and South American. Last time I was in Juba in Southern Sudan, I saw a big passenger ship I think going to Khartoum. We could just add a few kilometers to this route to Lake Albert where our ships would dock. Hard times require tough decisions. Uganda government should wake up and start planning for an alternative route to the sea right now
Solution to the Migingo island
written by Dian Kenneth, May 05, 2009
Here is the solution:

As many have said:
1. Wipe the island off the face of the earth just as Iran is planning to do with a certain country that is home to God's only chosen people.
2. Toss a coin, and whoever gets the head gets the island
3. As Harry Sagara of Daily monitor has put it, organise arm wrestling between M7 and Kibaki or a beauty contest between Janate Museveni and Lucy Kibaki. The reresentative who wins the contest has won the island for his/her country.
written by webster, May 05, 2009
smilies/sad.gif It just goes to show that Africans are still slaves to the Europeans, does it not? The only solution is to call back the British to decide which part is Ugandan and which part is kenyan, since it was they who crated the various countries in the continent in the first place, and the African union is completely uselss to determine the furture of Africa or values its people.
The problem now is not a question of wether the island belongs to kenya or not, because the British could have devided the land in any way they wanted , meaning that 10% of what is now known as kenya wold have been named uganda ,equally it could have have hapened the other way round.It is a question of how Africans sees themselves and values themselves as a people. when zimbabwean fled to south Africa to get away from Mugabe, it was not the white man that was attacking them, It was the very same people who were complaining about colonialism that were attacking the very same people they were calling brother during the protest on white rule in Africa, and now they are figting over the spoils that the white man has left behind, and the brutality involved is far greater that that done by the white man. if blacks or Africans are so much against colonialism , should they not be sitting togeter at the African union and re-drawing the map of Africa based on the population to show that they are no longer slaves instead of fighting over what the alave masters have left Africans with? What do Africans see when they look at each others in the eye,people witha moral values or some thing to be exploited, Do Africans as a people have any moral code that binds them together ,they hold and respect?
To end the slavery is for all African leaders to come together at the African Union and redraw the map of Africa to show black are capable of sitting together in one large table ad determining their own furture as a people without resorting to mindless savegry like the one witnessed in Rwanda and the Kenyan election, and that they are no longer bound by the laws of their former slave masters. slavery is not over until you star to value each others as apeople. No one else is going to care about you. all other countries in the world are developing and you are the loughing stock of the whole planet.
just go to and type the word japanese gangstar, you will find Japanese comedians making fun of balacks not being able to by a car if they do not go to school and study.

When african leaders go abroad,the people do not have to claen up their streets or fix a trafic light because some head of state is coming. uganda had to get rid of all homeles people from the street and fix a trafic lights that were dead sind the day of amin only because the Queen of England was comming. Sad continent, sad people. smilies/sad.gif
written by Opolot, May 06, 2009
Here in this article is true nationalism and objectivity. This is the moment I would call upon government of Uganda functionaries to implement especially urgently the Lessons for Uganda section. Thanks Andrew and Team for the good job.
written by mathew, May 07, 2009
i've no idea why our soldiers here in Uganda are always accused of provoking kenya and arasing boundaries.they should know better.Kenya is more powerful economically and millitarily and more than well equiped to annilate our forces in 72 hours.From a millitary stand point and am a retired officer,we have no chance and we should tell people the truth.Stop this nonsense.
No migingo no war!
written by mathew, May 07, 2009
Again we Ugandans should be building and developing our nation after all those years wasted by amin and his thugs.While we are wasting billions fighting in every country that neighbors us,kenyans are initiating aggressive economic plans to make their coutnry a modern economy after that unfortunate chapter after elections.lets face it,our budget is a dwarf compared with kenyas and and our army far less professional and less equiped.Whether we own migingo or not,war should not be an option we patriotic Ugandans are tired of fighting.Let a sleeping Giant lie.
written by Kiboko, May 11, 2009
I think Kibera Kenyans are mad. They **** their own and foreget that life is sweet. Uganda Going to war with Kenya wont solve the problem of Migingo instead it will intesify the problem. This is not a time to fight.There is one Ugandan who says that Ugandans are harassed everywhere and he went on to say Rwanda I do not know where in this region where Ugandans are well comed like in Rwanda he should do his homework right.

I think the twoo governments should sit and look at old maps and literature and solve the problem if Kenyans uproot railway Uganda will disconnect them and we in the region will not trade with them the little they get from the Indian community will be lost and they will end up being too poor and poor
written by Chirchir, May 13, 2009
The article is a true reflection of the events transpiring in Kenya lately.Kenyans protest over any percieved injustice.Its the culture around here folks.I have never been to Uganda,I am told its beatifull.I have a feeling that the political leadership of the two nations vary tremendously...Kenyan's expect their leadership to be responsive.I believe that East Africans are missing the oportunity of a lifetime to discuss the real issues affecting the present and future of the community...through blogs issues can be debated and understood better.Never the less if either country is good then both acting in unity must be better.
written by gemyni, May 13, 2009
kyamanywa, i'mm sorry that u feel that way about kenyans but remamber, its your government that sent its military forces over there, not us, when you ask for trouble thats wot you get. kenyans are very enlightened people unlike ugandans and if we start to compare ourselves with you it would be unfair to you guys. stick to the problem and stop with the insults, coz your English is also down.
Article Not accurate
written by stephen gathura, May 13, 2009
Why is the article not mentioning that under the British rule, the Boundaries were altered two times after the !926 demarcation and the true boundary is the one that was there at the time of independence as ratified by the OAU who declared that boundaries at independence are the final ones. Therefore it is dishonest for you to write a misleading article and deceive your readers. Anybody who wants the truth can find all the information at the British archives and one can request for the documents online.
Museveni's Comments
written by Independent Observer, May 15, 2009
Museveni was quoted as having said that the island was in Kenya but the water was in Uganda. This means that the Kenyans on the island are literally 'sea-locked'.

Added to the constant unease among Ugandan citizens through comments in this forum, following the railway sabotage in Kibera, this goes to show how bad it feels to be land-locked. The southern corridor may for now look like an alternative as proposed in the article. However, teething problems are nigh:
1. Infrastructure - roads, weighbridges, check-point personnel and equipment, insecurity. and
2. Dealing with Tanzanians authorities, language issues, mistrust. There is now a slap of more than 300 Million dollars on Uganda for receiving Tanzanian military support to oust Idi Amin, and that is just a sign of worse things to come.
Ugandans should be grateful for once that cross-border operations have been ongoing smoothly since independence years and as a result business opportunities and space for development was offered. Wisdom dictates that UG agrees to keep htese linkages alive for its continued economic development. Kenya is not at the moment keen to disrupt this relation as the railway is being repaired. Trucks going to Uganda are still in business. Supplies are getting to their destinations as expected. That is good neighbourliness. So Uganda should tread carefully in these economic matters because there are others who have better experience.
always landloked
written by sam, May 17, 2009
uganda should just be calm an surreder. u r landlocked ad you will always be. dont boycot kenyan busiesses.
kenyans should not bully us
written by Tusiime Samson, May 18, 2009
Reading the news pieces especially in the print media, one gets really to know the kind of people that Kenyans are. The just love violence. The nation has just recovered from poll violence and its now baying for more bloodshed??? Much as Kenya is important to our economy, we should not be held at ransom by those politicians and their vile youth uprooting our railway lines. It seems every country in this region takes our kindness for docility. Tz was chasing away Ugandans not while ago, in Juba, our traders are being molested by the SPLA yet people from these countries just do whatever they want with no one making their lives hard. Its true that patriotism levels in Uganda are at the bottom but i dare them to provoke us. the whole picture will painted differently. Otherwise, the article was a masterpiece
written by DABBO, May 25, 2009
Excellent article?
I was in Kampala the other day, those ends of Ntinda, and for a fact Ugandans are fed up with M7. All those brains in Uganda yet the man fixes his wife as a Minister?the epitome of dictatorship!
What arrogance is this?
Kenyans have no qualms with Ugandan people.
This is the the problem-FORCING OUR FISHERMEN TO PAY TAX and MISTREATMENT OF kenyans BY illegal UGANDAN PERSONEL ON MIGINGO which we all know for a fact is in Kenya.
The survey is a WASTE OF RESOURCES WHICH KENYA KNOWS but says heck lets just do it!
You have all heard of the Kenyan Police? Now imagine what the Kenyan Army is capable of?
Apart from being able to fight on four different fronts at once?
The UPDF 'soldiers' must realize this is not a Somalia peace keeping mission, neither is is rag tag guerrilla armies from CONGO and wherever useless battles they have been engaging.
We eagerly await the SURVEY, Uganda's M7 will refuse to accept.
Kenya is READY AND willing to ENGAGE,!


Uganda claims that the Migingo, which falls under Kenya's Migori District, is Ugandan territory.

The long and short of the saga is that the east African neighbours have commissioned mapping and surveying experts from both countries to determine the island's exact location, though colonial maps, some dating back to 1926, indicate that it is in Kenya.
written by KENYAN, May 28, 2009
M7 should hold on the water he claims to be Ugandas n probably divert its flow to his land and build an island 4 his people.
Otherwise, he should wait for investigations to be done which of course will ashame the hungry HIM.
written by Nathan Kahangire, May 29, 2009
Frank are really ugandan or not if ur you have to wake up that;s the time to be one nation especially this time. ,don't betray your country even kenyans they could except this comment from you as ugandan
Migingo impase
written by john bii, July 31, 2009
This is a true test of leadership for both parties. Migingo dispute is far from being resolved, i think there needs to be a third party to solve this matter scientifically and also diplomatically.
To join the debate go to the link below.
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