Kenya and Uganda have agreed to end harassment of Kenyan fishermen on Lake Victoria by introducing radars to monitor boats.
The radars will replace Kenyan and Ugandan security personnel who patrol the lake.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni revealed this on Saturday while commissioning the Busia One Stop border post.
The construction of the post was funded by the British and Canadian governments.
Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong kick off the debate on fishing when he told President Museveni how his soldiers were harassing Kenyan fishermen for fishing on “imaginary Ugandan waters” in Lake Victoria.
He alleged that the Ugandan police were forcing Kenyan fishermen who are caught fishing within perceived Ugandan territory to eat raw fish.
“We have lived peacefully for ages and this culture of mistreating others should be discarded in the spirit of East African Cooperation,” Ojaamong said.
In response, Museveni admitted that he has been using Guerilla warfare to protect the harvesting of premature fish in Lake Victoria.
“This has paid off dividends and the lake is now back with stocks of mature fish. I am in talks with President Uhuru and John Magufuli of Tanzania to introduce surface radar to monitor boats plying the lake instead of soldiers,” Museveni said.
With the introduction of the radars, Museveni said there will be need for the country’s to agree on a standard size of boats to operate since smaller boats may not be detected by the radar.
Failure to detect the boast will in turn lead to illegal fishing.
President Kenyatta concurred with Oparanya on the harassment of Kenyan fishermen by Ugandan forces and said the radars will now ensure they can now undertake the activity without fear.
Uhuru assured Ojaamong that the national government will seek partnership with EAC member states and donors to have facilities on the Kenyan side of the border.
This was after the governor said the OSBP will benefit big traders at the expense of small traders who have challenges crossing the border.
“We shall sit down and iron out these differences with various border agencies,” Uhuru said.
The two heads of states called for an end to the culture of boundaries saying they were an invention of the colonialists.
“We want to see East Africans coming together and competing with Asian tiger nations and crisscrossing to member states without restrictions,” Uhuru said.
Museveni said there was need for big scanners for trucks to avoid smuggling of deadly weapons across the borders.
Adopted from The Star, Kenya