Local Leaders: Lack of Uniform Laws Fueling Conflicts on Lake Albert Shores

1580 Views Nebbi, Uganda

In short
Bugamubien Esese, the administrator Mahagi territory has promised to work with his Ugandan counterparts to fight insecurity on the lake.

Local authorities in Bullisa, Nebbi and districts in the Democratic Republic of Congo on the shores of Lake Albert are calling for a uniform law to regulate fishing activities on the lake and stem conflicts. The call follows rampant cases of insecurity faced by fishermen on the lake shores. 

Fred Lukumu, the Buliisa LC V chairperson blames the conflicts on disparities in regulations. Lukumu was speaking on Tuesday in a joint security meeting involving officials from Buliisa, Nebbi and Mahagi in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He says harmonizing the policies will stop Ugandan fishermen from blaming DRC law enforcement officers for harassment and theft of their engines and fishing nets. 

Shaban Ofoy, the LC III chairperson Panyimur Sub County says Ugandan fishermen are shying away from doing business with their Congolese counterparts because of harassment by Congolese officials and various taxes levied on their catch. He blames this on the contradictory laws being enforced by the authorities in the two neighboring countries. Ofoy says while in Uganda undersized nets are banned in DRC they are acceptable, which calls for uniform legislation. 

Robert Okumu, the Nebbi LC V chairperson blames the conflicts on the large number of government officials from both countries deployed on the lake. Bugamubien Esese, the administrator Mahagi territory has promised to work with his Ugandan counterparts to fight insecurity on the lake. He says despite the challenges in implementing the laws, this shouldn't cause animosity amongst people from the neighboring countries.

Bugamubien urges Ugandan fishermen not to comply with any illegal tax such as the Ebola tax. Each fisherman is expected to pay UGX 25,000 before crossing into DRC despite the fact that it has not yet been approved by the Congolese president Joseph Kabila. 


About the author

Ronald Batre
Ronald Batre is so passionate about journalism that he did not wait to finish school before he started his career. This is how he started with Radio Paidha, The West Niler, Daily Monitor newspapers and later with Radio Pacis as Assistant News Editor.

To be allowed to practice his passion, Batre had struck a deal with his parents. He would complete his education. He kept his word and went through school while suporting himself with his journalism.

Entering the workplace so young attuned Batre to the plight of the youth and those who seek employment. Apart from that, he is interested in reporting about politics, local government, business and the environment. A witness to some of the destructive impact of the Lord's Resistance Army rebellion in northern Uganda, Batre is interested in reporting about peace building efforts too.

Uganda Radio Network's former Gulu bureau chief, Batre is now based in Kampala. He is URN's main politics correspondent. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.