Now Sh1.5 million Migingo police rent arrears to be cleared
The government will pay more than Sh1.5 million rent arrears the police department owes a Ugandan landlady in Migingo Island to end a stalemate over the matter. The department promised to pay the 12 months arrears for 11 houses occupied by Kenyan police officers stationed at the disputed island to Mama Steve.
On Friday, the deputy police commissioner in charge of planning, research and development Silas McOpiyo led a delegation of government officials to the island to inspect the houses. “We appreciate the services offered by the landlady to offer the houses when we stationed our officers here. We will pay her in time but we had to follow the laid down procurement process through other ministries like Land, Housing and surveyors to ascertain the value of the houses,” said McOpiyo.
“We have to cater for the welfare of our officers as they are also public servants for them to serve Kenyans better,” he added during a weekend meeting with the landlady, government officials and the Beach Management Unit officials from both countries. McOpiyo said the government’s relevant ministries have assessed the houses that are being charged Sh500 a day to ascertain their market value before payment is made as is required by the law.
The officers had claimed that the woman and BMU chairman Juma Ombori had inflated the price. Three months ago, the provincial administration in Nyatike convinced the landlady not to throw out the officers over the arrears. “We will table today’s report to Police Commissioner Mathews Iteere to pay the houses and later after the dispute between the two countries is settled, we will plan to build police houses in the island,” said McOpiyo.
But officers and Kenyans interviewed by the Star said the delay by the government shows the lackluster approach towards the issue. “The nine Kenyan police officers stationed at Migingo got their last salary on May 10, which was Sh30,000 apart from having any life jackets and when we arrest criminals we are forced to use personal boats to ferry them to mainland,” said a police officer who spoke in condition of anonymity said.
He added that life at the Island is very expensive as in a day they pay between Sh600-800 for food and basic needs like bottled water with government’s weekly food supplements often delayed. On the other the about 12 APs stationed at Ugingo Island, as Kenya and Uganda are only allowed to have 12 officers each at Migingo, have life jackets, a speed boat and get weekly food supplement on Wednesday from DCs office which create tension between the two units.
“APs and Kenya Police officers are working as a team by cooperating with each other to offer security in the area and also work closely with Ugandan officers to boost peace” McOpiyo said. The tour was also attended by Nyanza Deputy PPO Larry Kieng, Nyatike DC Moses Ivuto, Nyatike OCPD Samuel Anampiu, Area land registrar Edward Bosire, Physical Planner Ruth Karoki amongst other government officials.