The government announced plans to close more than 200 illegal landing sites on the shores of Lake Albert in the districts of Hoima, Kikuube and Buliisa. According to the government, the landing sites are facilitating the illegal entry and exit of Congolese Nationals into the country, many of whom have settled on the sites without any control.
Hundreds of Fishermen operating
at the shores of Lake Albert have appealed to the government to stay the impending closure of illegal landing sites, until after the COVID-19 lockdown.
The government, two weeks ago,
announced plans to close more than 200 illegal landing sites on the shores of Lake Albert in the districts of Hoima, Kikuube and Buliisa. According to the government, the landing sites are facilitating the illegal entry and exit of
Congolese Nationals into the country, many of whom have settled on the sites
without any control.
The move is also intended at
restocking the lake resource and put an end to the increasing illegal fishing
activities on Lake Albert. According to the government, 61 landing sites will
be closed in the first phase of the drive.
Some of the ungazetted landing
sites earmarked for closure in Hoima district are Buhuma, Pentye, Nana,
Kabanda, Kiryatete, Kisege and Kacuru. Those in Kikuube are Bulinga, Wangjok,
Kiina, Kachunde, Busigi, Nsunzu and Ususa, among others. while those to be
closed in Buliisa are Kawaibanda, Tuugo Mbili, Chula, Masaka, Katonge,
Wankende, Kigagaizi, Bubwe and Kololo among others.
But some of the fishermen say that the government should allow the closure of the illegal landing sites to take place
only after the elimination of the COVID-19 Pandemic to give them ample time to
organize themselves. Gilbert Ajoba, a fisherman at Rwentale Landing Site in
Buseruka Sub-county says that closing the landing sites now will leave them
//Cue in; “spidi jumio nindo…
Cue out… cik pa Uganda.”//
Charles Cwinya, a fisherman at
Fofo Landing site in Hoima wonders how they will move to another place amidst
the lockdown which affected the movement of people across the country. He too
calls on the government to give the fishermen enough time to relocate.
//Cue in; “Paru para bu…
Cue out…tiye ungo Uganda.”//
John Munguriek, the Vice-Chairman
of Fofo landing site local council in Buseruka sub-county says evicting
fishermen at the moment could contravene the government guidelines of controlling
the spread of COVID-19.
//Cue in; “saha yi apa…
Cue out…na transport akuna.”//
Yakobo Byalero, a fish trader in
Hoima town says that it is suicidal for the government to close the illegal
landing sites during this period of COVID-19 where people are restricted from
any movement yet the government does not even have any resettlement action plan
for the fishermen.
//Cue in; “babanze ba gumisirize…
Cue out…Gumisireze oburwaire
Buseruka sub-county Councilor Geoffrey
Komakech cautions against rushing to evict the fishermen in the absence of an appropriate measure of relocating the
Lake Albert employs approximately
56,000 fishermen who harvest more than 100,000 tons of fish every year. There are over 400 landing sites on the Lake
Albert in Bunyoro sub-region stretching up to Ntoroko district. Overall, fishing supports the livelihood of
more than 1.6 million people in Uganda.