In Summary
  • Kenyans on Twitter were venting about reports that Uganda had replaced its police force on the island with an elite military unit.
  • Miniscule Migingo has over the years become the famous island in Lake Victoria because of this row over its ownership.

That small, but potentially explosive, matter of Migingo Island in Lake Victoria is back in the news.

Kenyans on Twitter were venting about reports that Uganda had replaced its police force on the island with an elite military unit.

It seemed at one point that the squabble over this tiny rock, which is about the size of a quarter the size of a football pitch, had been settled and President Yoweri Museveni agreed in a much-publicised meeting at State House, Kampala, some years ago that the thing belongs to Kenya.

Miniscule Migingo has over the years become the famous island in Lake Victoria because of this row over its ownership. There is talk that beneath and around Migingo there are precious liquids, which is why its ownership has become important.

But even without that, many who have been following the Migingo ping pong over the last years will be worried that it could cause very big problems between Kenya and Uganda.

Kenyan politicians from the Lake Victoria region have argued that both former President Mwai Kibaki and President Uhuru Kenyatta have not fought harder to assert a claim over the rock because they are mountain people from the central part of the country.

The risk with that is that a muscular response from the government in Nairobi over the ownership of Migingo then becomes inevitable with each passing day, because there is a higher electoral premium in doing so.

PROVE CRITICS WRONG

Not only would Kenyatta prove critics wrong by doing so, but because the island has become an emotive issue, the political reward for doing so would be higher.

Alternatively, a local politician could do something that forces him to choose between siding with a Kenyan or the Ugandan Government.

On the other hand, Migingo seems to have turned into a bone that Museveni just won’t let go of.

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