, BERLIN, Jun 21 – A meeting between Kenyan legislators led by the Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has sought to placate tension between the two countries , following the recent misunderstanding over Migongo Island.
The meeting which took place on the sidelines of the 14th Berlin International Prayer Breakfast Conference saw the Ugandan leader share candid talks with MPs Ababu Namwamba, Magerer Langat, Kiema Kilonzo, Eugene Wamalwa, Erastus Mureithi and Charles Kilonzo.
They exchanged views on the disputed Island, regional integration and bilateral relation between the two countries.
President Museveni who was a guest speaker at the Prayer Conference said his remarks in Dar-es-Salaam were taken out of context by Kenyans and urged locals not to take their trade relations with Uganda for granted since trade between the two countries is hugely in favour of Kenya.
Uganda exports $100 million of goods to Kenya while Kenya exports $500 million worth of goods to Uganda yet Kenyans sometimes frustrate Uganda by destroying the railway line. He said his country might out of frustration be forced to seek alternative routes for exports and imports through Tanzania.
Budalangi’ Member of Parliament Ababu Namwamba told President Museveni that it was the cardinal duty of Kenyan leader including MPs to protect integrity of Kenyan borders, which cannot be compromised.
He however said the fate of the people of East African was intertwined. "Our people heavily depend on fishing in Lake Victoria and on trade with Uganda. We must therefore not do anything that compromises the mutually beneficial relations between the two nations."
Mr Namwamba said it was important for Kenyan leader and citizens to respect Ugandan leaders and citizens and expect reciprocal treatment.
Wamalwa, who is the Saboti MP said a face-to-face meeting with President Museveni had helped clear the air because he has committed to oblige once the ongoing the survey confirmed it belonged to Kenya.
"The stakes have been very high on this matter but we are now relieved to note that the Uganda leader’s position is not hard and fast on the issue."
Mr Musyoka on his part expressed confidence that Kenya’s relationship with Uganda will remain solid and that the Migingo issue will be resolved amicably to the satisfactions of the two nations.
"It’s now time to move aggressively towards regional integration to unify the people of East Africa," he said and added that the global financial crisis had come with the vital lessons for the whole world.
He observed that since the crisis had not spared any corner of the globe, it was a proof that no one people or race can claim to be independent of the other "we are all in one boat and we must pull together to survive."
He added that Kenya was now coming out of the woods following the adverse effects of the post election violence and devastating famine. "I hold the view that the 21st century belongs to Africa. We are determined to make it so," he told the conference.