, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 12 – The controversy surrounding the ownership of the disputed Migingo Island deepened further on Tuesday when Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni introduced another twist to the on-going debate.
He appeared to admit that the island belonged to Kenya but vowed that the surrounding waters were Uganda’s and “should be treated as such” even daring to keep away Kenyan fishermen.
In an elaborate interview with the BBC on Tuesday, the fiery President took issue with Kenyan youth whom he accused of “taking matters too far by uprooting the railway line in Kibera and rioting over Migingo Island.”
“Mpaka inazunguka kisiwa (the boundary surrounds the waters). So I am telling those Jaluos who were rioting na wananyoa reli (uprooting the railway if we implement this, hakuna mjaluo atavua samaki (no Luo will fish) in this water here,” he said and maintained that it is only the Island that belongs to Kenya.
Mr Museveni’s interview aired on the BBC on Tuesday, sparked fresh controversy and angered Kenyan legislators who questioned why “he was changing tack.”
Nyatike Member of Parliament Edick Omondi Anyanga in whose constituency the controversial Island falls attempted to take the debate to the House but was quickly censured for dragging the name of a President of a neighbouring country in Parliament without a substantive motion.
He had shot up to question President Museveni’s sincerity in using what he termed ‘unfriendly language’ against members of the Luo community even when the demarcation process of the Island by experts was still going on.
Other legislators Nicholas Gumbo and Fred Outa called a press conference at Parliament buildings and condemned President Museveni for his remarks.
Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula maintained that the Island is on the Kenyan side.
“What President Museveni has said is the same thing we have been saying that the Island belongs to Kenya and we hope both sides will agree with the results of the boundary demarcation. We want to handle this issue diplomatically,” he said.