The Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers, Mr Musa Sirma

The hull of Research Vessel (RV) Jumuiya, jointly owned by three members of the East African Community, (EAC) is rusting as remains docked on Lake Victoria for half a decade now.

The Research Vessel initially purchased to carry out scientific studies on Lake Victoria, has been rendered useless. Five years out of service has greatly affected research work initially meant to benefit the member states, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

The expensive vessel fixed with high-value research equipment stay idle on the shores of the Africa’s largest water body, Lake Victoria, shared by Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Addressing the issue of environment, members of the East African Legislative Assembly meeting in the Ugandan Capital of Kampala expressed concern with regard to the functioning of the high-priced marine vessel.

“As it stands today, the vessel remains docked and is a burden to the Community,” the EALA members declared in their statement made available to the media.

They unanimously ordered resumption of operation by the RV Jumuiya, along with efforts to remove or control water hyacinth currently plaguing the lake. The removal of the notorious water hyacinth would enable the RV Jumuiya carry out its mandate towards enhancing navigation, research, educational and related activities.

In response, the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, Mr Musa Sirma, noted that his regional Ministerial council was very much committed to implementing the decisions reached by the East African Parliament. The Minister enumerated the areas as management and accountability issues, governance as well as environmental mitigation measures to remove the hyacinth problem and staff recruitment among others.

The Research Vessel Jumuiya, was constructed in 1990 in the UK and rebuilt in May 2006 in Mwanza. Previously the vessel had been deployed in Lake Nyassa to study the Usipa, a major species of fish found in the lake.

Earlier on, EALA Members, according to its spokesperson Mr Bobi Odiko, were apprised by the EAC Deputy Secretaries General on the progress of projects and programmes of the bloc. The meeting chaired by the Speaker, Mr Abdirahin Abdi presented an opportunity for Members and the Executives of the Secretariat to exchange ideas on how to espouse and strengthen the Community.

During the session, presentations were made by Dr Enos Bukuku (DSG, Planning and Infrastructure), Mr Jean Claude Nsengiyumva (DSG, Productive and Social Services) and Dr Julius T. Rotich (DSG, Finance and Administration).

By MARC NKWAME, Tanzania Daily News

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