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Kasensero Fishermen Call For Harmonisation Of Cross-border Fishing On Lake Victoria

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Joseph Kimera Ssuuna, one of the affected fishermen, says about 20 fishermen are attacked and some killed each month. He says it is through regular harmonization meetings that such practices can reduce.
Boats at Kasensero landing site

Audio 4

Fishermen operating at Kasensero landing site in Kasensero town council have appealed to Kyotera district authorities and the Ministry for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) to harmonise cross-border fishing on Lake Victoria. 

They claim that Ugandan fishermen are brutally attacked by Tanzanians for fishing on their side yet the Tanzanians are allowed to fish in Uganda and even sell their catch at Kasensero landing site. Joseph Kimera Ssuuna, one of the affected fishermen, says about 20 fishermen are attacked and some killed each month.  He says it is through regular harmonization meetings that such practices can reduce. 

//Cue in: “Tuyina Ekizibu ekinene……………      

Cue out:…………………nti oba tuwolere.”//   

He says the authorities often arrest them and confiscate their boats and engines as well as fish accusing them of crossing to Tanzaina. According to Ssuuna, they pay Tanzanian Shillings 2m (over Shillings 3m) to recover their boats, which is too expensive for them.

He notes that their pleas to the authorities haven’t yielded results since the district officials have failed to come to their rescue. Currently, the majority of the fishermen have abandoned fishing fearing for their lives.    

//Cue in: “Naye ffe tusingaanye……………      

Cue out:………..kumalawo ebizibu ebyo.”//    

Francis Ssekiwunga, LC I Chairperson Kagera Cell 8, says more than 40 fishermen have been killed in the last 10 years. He says that some of the deceased fishermen could not be identified since their bodies were amputated.    

He identifies some of the survivors of the attack as John Bosco Mitala, Sulaiman Kyazze, Joseph Kimera, Sande Waswa, Bbulu Maselika, Alex Mulindwa, John Kasozi, Twaha Ntale and Abdul Senkima among others. 

Ismail Uhtman Lubega, an Independent candidate for the Kakuuto County Parliamentary seat, says that he spent most of his childhood at tKasensero landing site and has been following the fishermen’s challenges for a long time.   

He says the issue of the boundary demarcation has been a longstanding challenge, which has landed the majority of fishermen into trouble when they cross to Tanzania.  

//Cue in: “Ensonga ya abavubi……………   

Cue out:………..okujawo obuzibu obwo.”//

Lubega says the concerns of the fishermen should be addressed since they risk their lives to go to the lake to contribute to the country’s economy.     

//Cue in: “Enyanja eno yelabirira………………..  

Cue out:………..Nezigonjolebwa mu ddembe,”//   

  

He urged the marine to intensify patrols on the lake to protect Ugandan fishermen from attacks.  However, Jonah Rusoke, the Kyotera District Fisheries Officer, says they held a cross-border meeting with the Tanzanian authorities in October to have a common understanding over certain grievances. 

According to Rusoke, the meeting was held at Kabindi landing site in Lukunyu Island and Uganda was represented by the Enoch Abaine, the Regional Police Commander (RPC), Judith Akello, the Kyotera District Police Commander (DPC), Maj. David Matovu, the Kyotera RDC, UPDF-Armoured Brigade Officials, among others.   

He says that they agreed on various issues including collaboration in the fight against the prowling piracy on the lake among others. END

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