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Come clean on your ‘secret’ Nile pact with Cairo, Dar tells Kampala

Discussion in 'Ugandan News and Politics' started by BAK, Aug 31, 2008.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Aug 31, 2008
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    Come clean on your ‘secret' Nile pact with Cairo, Dar tells Kampala

    Presidents Hosni Mubarak and Yoweri Museveni. Photo/MORGAN MBABAZI


    Saturday, August 30 2008 at 14:34

    A row is simmering between Uganda and Tanzania over the latter's demand that Kampala share details of secret bilateral arrangements on the use of the River Nile's waters that were allegedly agreed with Egypt during a brief stopover in Entebbe by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at the end of July.

    Tanzania suspects that the two leaders entered a pact to take more water out of the river for their mutual benefit.

    Tensions were fanned further after Uganda Water and Environment Minister Maria Mutagamba made three unofficial visits to Cairo that Tanzania now suspects could have been intended to draw up the framework for the Mubarak-Museveni pact.

    President Mubarak made a brief stopover in Uganda on his way from South Africa where he had gone to rally support for Sudanese President Omar El Bashir against his likely indictment for crimes against humanity by the International criminal Court.

    According to a source who sought anonymity, among other bilateral issues, the two presidents also had specific discussions on the use of the Nile waters.

    Neither of the countries, however, shared the minutes of these talks with the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), an inter-governmental organisation that brings together the Nile Basin countries of Burundi, DR Congo, Egypt, Eritrea (still an observer), Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania Sudan and Uganda.

    The EastAfrican has learnt that Tanzania requested the meeting's minutes from NBI in vain, and consequently asked the organisation to use its mandate to follow up on the matter.

    Tanzania's interest in the matter is said to arise from concerns that Uganda is releasing water beyond the normal flow from Lake Victoria into the river for purposes of hydropower generation, which in the process ensures more water flowing towards Egypt, but hurts the ecosystem of the lake.

    Kampala confirmed that the Nile was high on the agenda of the presidents' meeting, but said that Tanzania should not intervene in the two countries' bilateral relations, because whereas Uganda hosts the major exit to the Nile, Egypt's lifeline depends on the river.

    "Besides, whatever we discuss with Egypt that is regional is subject to approval by all the countries in the Nile Basin, so they should not be suspicious," said Isaac Musumba State Foreign Affair Minister for Regional Integration.

    Meanwhile, NBI member states are yet to agree on a new deal that will govern the use of the Nile waters, after throwing out the outdated bilateral agreements between Egypt and former colonialists Britain because not all the countries in the basin had consented to them.

    Against that background, Uganda's recent behaviour on issues regarding the Nile is being seen as potentially undermining the confidence and trust that had so far developed among the members over the past 10 years of negotiating a new agreement.

    Officials close to the matter told The EastAfrican that Ms Mutagamba, the country's political negotiator on Nile Basin issues, made three unofficial visits to Egypt over several months, without the knowledge of Uganda's ambassador there. This made some riparian states suspicious.

    Ms Mutagamba was unavailable for comment, as she was out of the country, but State Minister for Water Jenipher Namuyangu said, "When it comes to issues of the Nile with regional implications, we have a body for that, and we are working with all the other countries."

    The EastAfrican can however reveal that the quarrel over the Nile has escalated differences between Uganda and Tanzania to such an extent that Ms Mutagamba was recently snubbed in Dar es Salaam when she sought an audience with President Jakaya Kikwete.

    Ms Mutagamba, who formerly chaired the Nile Council of Ministers, earlier wanted a heads of state summit to be convened so that the agreement could be finalised and signed by the presidents, a development that would see a permanent Nile Basin Commission established, and implementation of many development programmes commenced.

    Her strategy was to persuade President Kikwete, current chairman of the African Union, to squeeze in a side meeting for the Nile Basin Heads of State into the agenda of the AU Summit held in June in Sharm El Sheikh Egypt, so that they would be briefed on the status of the agreement, and be requested to schedule the historical summit.

    Ms Mutagamba, Sortie Byamukama, one of the directors in Uganda's Water Ministry and country technical negotiator on the agreement, and Audace Ndayizeye, executive director of NBI, travelled to Tanzania for that purpose.

    However, sources told The EastAfrican that on arrival, the office secretary of Tanzania's Minister of Water received them but the Permanent Secretary would not grant them access to the minister, let alone President Kikwete.

    As it turned out, no side-meeting was held during the AU Summit in Egypt, and endorsement of the draft agreement by the heads of state is still pending.

    One of the sticking points preventing an agreement is a clause in its draft pertaining to the security of water for all the riparian states.

    Observers have said that it is for this same reason that countries like Tanzania are demanding that Uganda and Egypt come clean on their meeting and release the minutes of their discussion on the Nile to NBI that will in turn inform the other eight countries in the sub-region.

    There have been concerns expressed within and outside Uganda that the country is releasing more water than flows naturally from Lake Victoria into the Nile in order to achieve enough water-pressure to run the turbines at the twin Nalubale and Kiira power plants in Jinja, in order to generate more electricity to reduce the energy deficit facing the country.

    Uganda has in the past argued that the real cause of falling water levels in Lake Victoria is tied to the climate change phenomenon and catchment-area degradation in countries where the major rivers that discharge into the lake originate.

    The falling levels have affected the ecosystem of the lake, resulting in declining fisheries, difficulties in water navigation and hydropower production. But for Egypt, it means more water flowing towards it.

    An Egyptian government communiqué following President Mubarak's visit reads, "Uganda holds an important place on the Egyptian agenda as 15 per cent of the Nile waters flow from Lakes Victoria and Albert.

    It is an important Nile Basin country and the Nile artery is vital for aspects of Egyptian national security. It has influence on the conditions in other Nile basin countries."

    Egypt, through its negotiations and actions, has made it clear that it does not want the flow and quality of water in the Nile to be interrupted either artificially or by natural occurrence.

    Currently, it is sponsoring a 10-year programme in Uganda to rid the Nile and Lake Albert of the water hyacinth, on top of advising on any planned activity on the river such as hydropower generation.

    The EastAfrican has learnt that Uganda's interests in the Nile water resource could impact on the flow of water, an aspect that prompts Egypt's individual involvement.

    In the near future, we have plans to start massive irrigation, and divert some of the water to the hinterland," said Mr Musumba.

    He added, "As the major exit of the Nile, we have a strategic interest in this, and although Egypt is sponsoring the water weed project, we want them to do more in supporting afforestation, and protecting river banks, because sustainable management of the river is also in their interest."

    It is noteworthy that Uganda, while chairing the Nile Basin last year, had the opportunity to call a heads of state summit, but did not because it was busy hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting, according to government officials.

    DR Congo is the current chair of the inter-governmental organisation, but has yet to show any intentions of calling the crucial summit.
  2. O

    Ogah JF-Expert Member

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    KUDOS KWA WALIOLIONA HILO.....HAWA WAGANDA WASITUFANYE SISI WAJINGA.........we know what is going on, wanataka kutupandia mgongo wakti wao wanafaidika and all the pressure will be left on us (i.e. the rest of Lake Victoria stakeholders)......................

    UGANDA AND EGYPT MUST COME CLEAN...........TUSIKUBALI KUCHEZEWA KIJINGA JINGA..........EGYPT AND UGANDA SHOULD ALSO KNOW THAT livelyhood ya Watanzania waishio kando na ndani ya Lake Victoria + Uchumi wetu also depend much from the integrity of the Lake Victoria...........

  3. M

    Mkandara Verified User

    Aug 31, 2008
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    Mazungumzo kati ya Uganda na Egypt hayakuanza jana, yameanza kama miaka minne au mitatu iliyopita na kuna mtu alinidokeza kuwa kitendo chetu cha kuvuta maji kupeleka ktk migodi ya Barricks ndiyo ilikuwa chanzo ch mazungumzo yao...

    Nasikia walipeleka malalamiko yao kwetu na sisi tuka ignore na kuendelea na mradi wetu bila ridhaa ya nchi za jumuiya NBI kuhusiana na kuvuta maji toka ziwa Victoria sio kwa minajiri ya irrigation..
    Maneno haya niliambiwa na mmoja wa wajumbe wa Uganda waliokuwa hapa mjini miaka miwili iliyopita wakilalamika kuhusu maamuzi yetu kuhusiana na maji ya ziwa Victoria..

    Sasa, kama limekuja hili jipya la wao kufikiria pia kuvuta maji zaidi toka ziwa Victoria basi bila shaka sisi ndio wa kulaumiwa kwanza kwa sababu tumeyaanza sisi...Uzalendo sio kutetea hata mabaya tunayoyafanya kwani Barrick pamoja na kuvuta maji hayo nje ya sheria za shirikisho hilo hakuna mwananchi wa kawaida ktk wilaya ama miji inayopita bomba hilo wanafaidika isipokuwa Barricks wenyewe...

    Kumbukeni pia ktk swala la samaki wale Sangara, Kenya na Uganda walikuwa wamekataa kabisa ushirikiano na nchi za EU kwa sababu samaki wale walikuwa na madhara zaidi kwa ziwa kuliko mapato tuliyokuwa tukipata.. Tanzania tuliendelea kujenga miradi ya samaki kiasi kwamba hata Kenya na Uganda ilibidi nao wajiunge kwa shingo upande ktk mradi mchafu unaoharibu mazingira..

    Kwa hiyo wakuu kuna lawama nyingi pia zimetupwa kwetu lakini sisi tuliweka pamba masikioni leo wao wanafanya imekuwa hoja nzito na tunaanza kutishia..Ubabe wetu hauwezi kuvuka mipaka enzi hizo zimekwisha..
  4. O

    Ogah JF-Expert Member

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    Bob Mkandara,

    Sisi kuchukua maji toka Lake Victoria......wala haikuwa siri kila kitu kilikuwa open and was disussed with both parties na hata baada ya ku-quantify kiwango tulichokuwa tunakichukua kikaonekana ni insignificant..........

    Bob nakuambia hii sio third hand information.......nakuambia hili kama first hand information............
    Trust me hawa Waganda wanataka ku-cover upuuzi wao kwa wanachokiandika hapo juu (pasted by Bubu) na wala hata siku moja hawatakuja sema eti kwa kuwa Tanzania ndio walianza kuchota maji Victoria......they will never say that because they were involved............prior to our projects (drain water from the Lake) take-off..........
  5. M

    Mkandara Verified User

    Aug 31, 2008
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    Mkuu shukran..... nakuamini..
    Habari hii niliambiwa na mjumbe toka Uganda miaka miwili iliyopita.. sasa nilipokuja kuona hili hapa nimeunganisha na ndio maana nimeliweka wazi. Kama kweli Uganda walihusishwa kikamilifu na wao wakakubali kuvutwa maji toka ziwa Victoria kwa sababu ya migodi yetu then sina zaidi isipokuwa kumwona yule jamaa kuwa alikuwa anawakilisha mawazo ya viongozi wanaotafuta ubaya wa utawala wetu...

    Maadam unazo info za ndani kuhusiana na Uganda kuhusishwa na mradi wa Barricks then tuna kila sababu ya kuweka madai yetu wazi ktk vikao vya NBI... lakini tusiwe na haraka ya kushtaki hali sisi hatuna ushahidi wa kutosha hadi sasa hivi...
    Hatuwezi kuomba minutes za mkutano kati ya Uganda na Egypt kwa sababu tu tunafikiria mazungumzo yao yanahusiana na kupora maji zaidi toka ziwa Victoria, kisha Egypt wanazo dams tayari ktk mto Nile hivyo tuwe makini sana tunapowakilisha hoja zetu.
    Mara nyingi sana M7 amekuwa akishuku sana mazungumzo kati ya Mkapa/Kikwete na rais wa Congo kuhusiana na maswala ya usalama wa wananchi wa majimbo hayo (Wahutu) ktk nchi hizo. Sijasikia wakiomba minutes za mikutano yetu pamoja na kwamba walikisia sana kuwa tunafanya mbinu za kumwondoa Kagame na Watutsi hali tukiwachekea usoni...

    Wakuu tunavyo vyombo vya Upelelezi na tuna watu ndani ya Uganda wanafanya kazi.. Ni vizuri sana chombo chetu cha Ujasusi kifanye kazi yake na kuwakilisha madai kama haya badala ya sisi kukisia kinachoendelea huko... Isije kuwa habari za Iraq na WMD wakuu zangu isiwe sababu ya kudhoofisha mahusiano yetu na Uganda..
  6. Mwiba

    Mwiba JF-Expert Member

    Aug 31, 2008
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    Ujanja huzidiana inaonyesha hapo waTz wameshazidiwa kete.
  7. Rev. Kishoka

    Rev. Kishoka JF-Expert Member

    Sep 1, 2008
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    Everyone for himself and God for us All!

    Let's drain Victoria southbound to irrigate all the northwest lake region so that we can have abundance of food and cash crops to increase our income and secure our economy!
  8. Mwana wa Mungu

    Mwana wa Mungu JF-Expert Member

    Sep 2, 2008
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    Oh Yes, lets drain it, to water parts of the middle tz which is arid. Egyptians are not God to tell us to stop it. it is in our own land, not theirs, we have all the autonomy and right to use it. if egyptians want water, let them turn to God of israel who once had punished them through Mosses. short of that, we are going to continue with our program. God bless Tanzania.Amin.