Uganda impounds DRC-bound fish from Kenyan traders (

Tons of fish from Kenya destined for the Democratic Republic of Congo (RDC) through Uganda have been blocked by the Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU) and the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) at Kikorongo near the Mpondwe border.

Monitor has learned that truck registration number UBH 652B was blocked last Thursday by the FPU and detained its occupants, including Mr Tyson Malaba and Ms Sarah Nabwire.
Mr Malaba said the fish consignment from Kenya had been stopped by the FPU at Kikorongo because it had not gone through the four companies registered by the MAAIF.

“The fish which we were exporting to the DRC was indeed impounded by the FPU and we were arrested,” Mr Malaba said at the weekend, adding that apart from impounding the fish and arresting the duo, the soldiers reportedly harassed them.

The FPU Spokesperson, Mr Lauben Ndifula, said the fish was impounded after they received information that it was immature fish from Uganda that had been smuggled into Kenya through porous borders, repackaged, and shipped for export to the DRC as fish from Kenya.

Mr Ndifula said a team of officials from the MAAIF was traveling from Kampala to the Mpondwe border to break the seals for verification of the fish consignment.
Mr Malaba said whereas the truck and fish had “all the required documentation” from the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and other agencies, the officers had insisted on having it confiscated and the truck occupants arrested.

Ms Nabwire, the other trader arrested, said the army demanded to have the seals broken on claims that they were carrying immature fish from Ugandan lakes.
The traders said from Kikorongo, the army transferred the impounded fish to the Mpondwe border, while demanding that URA break the seals.

Impounding fish from Kenya is a violation of the joint communique signed between Nairobi and Kampala on March 4, 2022, at the Busia border, at which it was agreed that Uganda would allow fish from Kenya to transit through its territory without any stoppage.
This is the second truck to be impounded by officials within a period of one week. Earlier, a Congolese-registered truck loaded with fish from Kenya, headed for Goma, had been stopped in Jinja and released after nearly two days.

It comes a week after Kenyan President William Ruto and his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni signed an understanding that sought to solve the turbulent trade and normalise the flow of goods between the two major trading partners in the East African Community (EAC).

The recent blockage mirrors October 3, 2021, where trucks carrying fish from Kenya worth $400,000 (about ShsShs1.45b) destined for the DRC was impounded by the FPU and the MAAIF at the Mpondwe border on allegations that it was immature Nile Perch and Tilapia from Ugandan lakes that had been smuggled into Kenya, sundried and repackaged for export.

Even when traders explained that the fish was from Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya, the FPU and MAAIF officials objected.
Mr Hassan Omari, one of the Kenya fish exporters, said whereas the fish was from Lake Turkana and had “all the documentation”, Uganda authorities impounded it and drove the trucks to Entebbe where the whole consignment disappeared without trace to date.
Every year, Kenya exports hundreds of tons of salted, sundried fish to the DRC and South Sudan through Elegu and Mpondwe border points, Mr Omari said, adding that impounding of the fish was a sign that Uganda had brushed the resolutions of the joint communique aside.

He added that even when they went to court, judgment had not been passed for close to two years, adding that some of the traders who owned the impounded fish had their property taken over by banks because they could not repay their loans.

Seif Yusuf, another Kenyan fish trader, said they are demanding for compensation for their lost fish which he said stood at “close to Shs15billion”, but has not…

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