Fishermen Accuse Beach Management Officials Of Bribery

2754 Views Jinja, Uganda

In short
A conflict has emerged between fishermen in Jinja and the beach management unit officials over corruption and failure to respect term limits.

A conflict has emerged between fishermen in Jinja and the beach management unit officials over corruption and failure to respect term limits.

Fishermen say chairpersons of Beach Management Units and the district fisheries officials connive not to respect terms limits. The Beach Management officials are meant to serve not more than two terms of four years according to the national beach management unit guidelines. But due to what fishermen call bribery and corruption among the fisheries officials, some chairpersons have remained in their offices past the regulated term.

Joshua Obalim, a fisherman at Rippon landing site in Jinja says the Beach management units have maintained a racket of illegal fishermen, whom they claim to fight but keep protecting because the business is too lucrative. He says the money given to the beach management unit heads is also channeled to the district fisheries officials who are supposed to organize elections. In the end, according to Obalim, the chairpersons are not changed since no elections are held.

In Jinja most beach management unit officials have not been re-elected or changed, while some have served more than the regulation time.

Abubaker Kikomeko, the chairman Jinja Beach Management Units says it is the fisheries office at the district supposed to organize elections, according to the Beach Management Unit guidelines.

He agrees that failing to carry out elections on time has brought about reluctance in enforcing fishing rules, issuing permits to the right people, fishing licenses and the fight against illegal fishing.

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He says when his time comes he will resign. He adds that this is not only common in Jinja but in other areas as well.

Sarah Mulondo, the Jinja fisheries Officer, however, says the term limits for Beach management units are respected with fresh elections organized. It is only a few BMU’s that are yet to hold fresh elections.