Five Kenyans have moved to court suing the Ugandan government for allegedly failing to control floods around Lake Victoria which led to displacement of people around the lake.
The complainants accused Uganda of breaching East Africa Community Treaty and the Nile Basin Comprehensive Framework Agreement by failing to control the amount of water it released to Lake Victoria.
In a report by the East African Daily, the complaints who include former president of the Law Society of Kenya, Isaac Okero, named Kenya and Tanzania as interested parties.
“As citizens of Kenya, who reside in Kisumu and are owners of real property located within the vicinity of the shores of the Lake, we have been greatly inconvenienced by the decision by Uganda,” says Okero in the court filing.
The five applicants said that Uganda’s breach had caused flooding that had damaged property and displaced more than 50,000 people around the lake.
They said the locals should be compensated for the losses incurred as a result of the floods that were witnessed around Lake Victoria.
“As applicants we plead for the prayers and orders that Uganda is responsible for the compensation of loss and/or damage suffered by the applicants. Order that loss and/or damage suffered by the applicants assessed by the court are paid by Uganda,” read the court documents.
They accused Eskom Uganda Limited, the country’s hydro electricity generating company, for allowing extra flow of water into the lake in bid to maintain the required water capacity for generating electricity.
The applicants said releasing more water into the lake was contrary to the EAC agreement in which the countries agreed not to interfere with the flow of the River Nile.
The water flow arrangements were expressed in a series of agreements entered into in 1949 and 1953 between Britain and Egypt and in 1991 between Uganda and Egypt, from which emerged a policy to release water at particular rates to allow for natural flow out of the Lake.
The applicants claimed the Eskom Uganda Limited which owns the Owen Falls dam had been allowing more water to flow out of the lake into the dam to meet growing power demands and releasing excess water into the lake whenever it exceeds the required capacity.
Okero, and lawyers Geoffrey Yogo, Raymond Olendo, Jared Sala and Moses Omondi, claim to have suffered “disruption of life, damage to properties, and economic loss.”
Uganda’s Attorney General, William Byaruhanga, and the EAC secretary General, Liberat Mfumukeko, have been named as the first and second respondents respectively. They are yet to file a response in court.