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Inter-Districts Forum on Lake Kyoga Slips into Limbo

However since 2010, the Authority has failed to convene or carryout any activity over lack of funds.

Audio 1

Lake Kyoga Integrated Management Organisation-LAKIMO has slipped into limbo because of lack of funds. In 2004, ten districts and 192 beach management units bordering Lake Kyoga waters formed LAKIMO with support from UK Department for International Development (DFID). The districts include Nakasongola, Apac, Amolator, Soroti, Lira, Kayunga, Katakwi, Pallisa, Kaberamaido and Kumi. The Authority was meant to plan and advocate for good working conditions of fishermen, harmonize district relations, fight illegal fishing practices, Water hyacinth and improve fish production among others.

However since 2010, the Authority has failed to convene or carry out any activity over lack of funds. Felix Gonzaga Magnot, the Executive Secretary LAKIMO says that the Organisation is facing a financial crisis after DFID pulled out and the districts failed to pay the 5 million shillings annual membership fees. Magnot says that they have tried to petition Ministry of agriculture, animal industry and fisheries and various development partners for support but they have not received any response. Magnot says that as a result, they have suspended all their activities until they secure funding.

 

James Wandira, the Nakasongola LC 5 Chairperson who is also sitting chairperson of LAKIMO says districts pulled out of the forum because of the failure by the agriculture minister to implement their resolutions. He says the suspension of their work has worsened the rate of illegal fishing and violence on the lake.

 

// Cue in;``apparently what is ……..

  Cue out;……funding is not there.’’//

Wandira warns that unless districts are involved in the management of the lake, the tension between fisheries law enforcement officers and fishermen will continue. Nelson Muruli, the representative Lwabyata Sub County says wants the forum to be revamped to address issues of extortion and brutality of fisheries law enforcement officers. Muruli says the body should convene meetings to harmonize the activities of fisheries enforcement officers and area leaders.

He also says there is a need to discuss the deteriorating local revenue collection from Lake Kyoga because of illegal fishing abetted by enforcement officers. Francis Muwanguzi, a fisherman on Lake Kyoga says that since government has failed to stamp out illegal fishing using force it should try to use dialogue such as LAKIMO if the Lake is to be preserved. Attempts by URN to speak to Ruth Nankabirwa, the state minister for fisheries were futile as she neither picked nor return our repeated calls.

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