Leaders in Kasese, Bushenyi and Rukungiri districts in western Uganda have expressed disappointment with the authorities in the DR Congo over their failure to implement resolutions made by the presidents of the two countries over border conflicts.
Bushenyi resident district commissioner John Gaston Maliro said the leaders have arranged four meetings to discuss the persistent clashes over Lake Edward between the two countries but Congo authorities do not show up.
Maliro added that last year, they organised a meeting in Chavinyonge in Congo but the Congolese pelted them with stones.
He said when a delegation is sent, it is normally composed of fishermen, who cannot implement the resolutions decided upon in Kinshasa.
â€œAmong the issues the presidents agreed on is to hold border and inter-ministerial meetings but the Congo government has never sent a delegation that can implement the resolutions,â€ Maliro said.
â€œOur meetings have ended up becoming jokes and they will not take us anywhere.â€ Maliro was speaking last Friday during a meeting at Kayanja fishing landing site in Bwera in Kasese district.
The meeting was aimed at finding solutions to the conflicts but no resolution was made because of the absence of Congo representatives.
Bushenyi district fisheries officer Anthony Rubeihayo said the Congolese called him inquiring whether their transport and accommodation would be catered for.
He added that there have been several hostilities between fishermen from the two countries, citing December 29 last year when 10 Ugandans were abducted by the Congolese.
Rubeihayo disclosed that Congolese have on several occasions been arrested for fishing on the Ugandan side of the lake but they are often released unconditionally.
Rukungiri assistant chief administrative officer Sam Ahabwe said the Congo fishermen catch fish from the breeding zone in Rwenshama, which has affected the fish stock in the lake.
The Kasese district assistant chief administrative officer, Wilson Ashaba, said despite attempts by NGOs, like the Nile Basin, to bridge the gap between the two countries, Congo leaders have persistently refused to meet the Ugandans.
The assistant commissioner of fisheries, Jackson Wadanya, who had travelled from Kampala to attend the meeting, also expressed disappointment.
â€œWe have a problem and we must work it out through dialogue. The Government must intervene instead of leaving this matter to the fisheries department and the districts where the resources are not enough,â€ Wadanya said.
Basima Ngani, the chairperson of Kishaka fishing landing site in North Kivu in the DRC, who turned up for the meeting, also expressed concern.
â€œWe thought we would meet our leaders in this meeting. We are also unhappy about their failure to turn up. We do not have any authority to agree with you on any issue,â€ he said.
Congo officials dodge border talks