Migingo: Kenyan surveyors shift to Nairobi

Kenyan surveyors will not team up with their Ugandan counterparts when they return this week to conclude a survey to determine the ownership of Migingo Island in Lake Victoria.

The Kenyan surveyors, who have since moved to the headquarters in Nairobi, are reluctant to team up with their Ugandan counterparts. The Ugandans pulled out of the joint survey for further consultations after they disagreed with the Kenyan team on technicalities.

They have now indicated they are ready to return but the Kenyan counterparts, who went ahead and compiled a report which show the island is in the country, say they will also have to “consult” before they can re-embark on the exercise.

The Kenyan surveyors’ report has since been presented to President Kibaki, who a fortnight ago declared that the island is in Kenyan territory.

A source at the Lands ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Kenyan team was awaiting direction from senior government officials before returning to conclude the Sh140 million joint exercise.

A joint survey of the two countries’ common border to unravel Migingo ownership hit a snag three weeks ago after the Ugandan surveyors left in a huff following a disagreement over a technicality.

While the Ugandan team was away, the Kenyan surveyors carried on and surveyed all islands on the Kenyan side. During his recent tour of Nyanza Province, President Kibaki declared the island belonged to Kenya.

At the weekend, the chairman of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, Dr Boni Khalwale, claimed the Ugandan team of surveyors had abandoned the joint survey after it emerged that Kenya might lay claim to two more islands and a constituency that is currently within her borders.