The protracted diplomatic tussle between Kenya and Uganda over the controversial Migingo Island has resurfaced after Uganda police arrested an assistant chief on Saturday.
The arrest has seemingly raised tension in the area with residents fleeing the island for fear of harassment.
Early last week, voter registration exercise in Migingo had to be temporarily halted after Ugandan authority arrested Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) staff for allegedly holding voter registration exercise at the island without clearance from Ugandan government.
Speaking at the time, IEBC Commissioner Thomas Letangule stated that voter registration exercise in the island will not resume until the Kenyan and Ugandan governments have resolved the boundaries impasse.
Letangule stated that by launching voter registration process at the island, IEBC knew that Migingo belongs to Kenya noting that the latest development has left the commission in limbo.
The exercise however resumed on Saturday after the commission held discussions with Ugandan authorities to resolve the issue.
Nyatike’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) coordinator Samuel Ochieng confirmed the resumption of the exercise after the electoral body wrote to Ugandan government informing them of its intention to carry on with the exercise.
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) had on Thursday called on the government to deploy Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers in Migingo to oversee voter registration exercise.
The legislators led by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi also asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to clarify whether the 1.5 acre piece of land is in Kenya or Uganda after the arrest of IEBC officials on Wednesday by Ugandan security forces.
The row between Kenya and Uganda over the island first surfaced in 2008 after Kenyan fishermen were barred from fishing in the waters.
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni then fueled the tension between the two governments further after he claimed that the water bordering the island is in Uganda while the land is in Kenya. He, however, later withdrew his statement following political pressure.
The then Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki however sought to create an aura of calm in the country by reassuring Kenyans that Migingo is in Kenya, despite the fact that at the time, Ugandan security officers had set camp in the island.
A joint border survey committee was later formed to review the process and bring an end the stalemate though this did little to resolve the issue which has been simmering since then.
Both Ugandan and Kenyan governments are yet to issue an official statement on the matter.