John Bamuturaki, a fisherman at Kabolwa landing site in Buliisa district, says closing the landing sites will negatively impact on their livelihoods, adding most of them have established permanent settlements on the landing sites and have nowhere to go.
Fishermen in Bunyoro
sub-region are protesting the government decision to close over 200 ungazetted
landing sites on Lake Albert.
The protests came days after government announced plans to
close the landing sites which were allegedly facilitating the illegal
movement of Congolese national to and outside the country despite the
nationwide lockdown of the country because of the Covid19 pandemic.
Last week, Major
General Leopold Kyanda, the UPDF Chief of Staff for Land Forces held a meeting
with top security officials in the Albertine region where it was resolved to
close over 200 ungazetted landing sites spread in Kagadi, Kikuube, Hoima and
Buliisa districts with immediate effect.
The security officers also noted
that some of these landing sites are inaccessible by land, which gives the Congolese
nationals chance to sneak out and thereby exposing Ugandans to danger. Kyanda said they will close 61 illegal landing sites in the four districts in
the first phase and close the remaining in phase two.
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.
Lake Albert employs
approximately 56,000 fishermen who harvest more than 100,000 tons of fish per
year. Overall, fishing supports the livelihood of more than 1.6 million people
in Uganda. The proposed closure of the landing sites hasn’t gone down well
John Bamuturaki, a
fisherman at Kabolwa landing site in Buliisa district, says closing the landing
sites will negatively impact on their livelihoods, adding most of them have
established permanent settlements on the landing sites and have nowhere to go.
//Cue in; ”My study all…
Cue out…put some measures.”//
Gilbert Owinja, a fisherman at Bugoma landing site in Kikuube district, denies
claims that the ungazetted landing sites are facilitating the entry of
Congolese nationals into the country. He instead accuses some security officers
of pocketing bribes from the Congolese nationals to allow them into the country.
Owinja says the closure of the landing sites might compel some of the youths
involved in fishing to resort to petty crime for survival.
//Cue in; ”an kakayi endiye…
Cue out…de wa dhanu.”//
Joseph Balinda, a fisherman at Waaki landing site in Hoima district, says
hundreds of fishermen derive their livelihood from the lake, arguing that
closing them could be disastrous to their families.
//Cue in; “Itwe nka abantu…
Cue out…surviving Nabantu abantu.”//
There are over 400
landing sites on the Lake Albert in Bunyoro sub-region stretching up to Ntoroko