THE Chairman of the East African Heads of State Summit, President Yoweri Museveni (pictured) now says that regional leaders are concerned over the rate of pollution affecting Lake Victoria and the Kagera River, calling for immediate measures to save the two ‘common resources.
The Ugandan leader expressed common concerns of the EAC heads of state over continuing destructive activities taking place around and within the two important water bodies linking almost all Community members. President Museveni was addressing the current East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) sessions in Kampala. His State of Address speech was made available in Arusha over the weekend.
President Museveni instructed the legislators to promote the protection of the two common resources, namely, River Kagera and Lake Victoria, describing both as “polluted by and continue to face the wrath of irresponsible human activities around the banks and shores.”
“We must see how people should protect the lake and river through planting forests around them to help filter the water entering them,” The EAC Heads of State Summit Chair maintained. “
These among other resources should be managed on an East African basis and we have the ability to manage the resources collectively – so such may save us in future for East Africa’s destiny,” he counselled.
A truly East African water body, Lake Victoria links Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, boasting a surface area of nearly70,000 sq km, making it the largest on African soil, as well as the largest tropical lake in the world and the world’s second largest freshwater lake by surface area, after Lake Superior in Canada.
Victoria, also known as Lake Nyanza, contains 2,750cubic kilometres of water, receiving its waters primarily from direct rainfall and thousands of small streams, but it is the Kagera River which contributes 6.4 billion cubic metres of water into the lake every year. Kagera is the largest river flowing into Victoria, with its mouth on the lake’s western shore.
Lake Victoria is drained solely by the Nile River near Jinja, Uganda, on the lake’s northern shore. On its part, River Kagera (formerly Alexander Nile), which stretches to over 400 kilometres long, connects Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
The section of river named Kagera begins in Burundi, flowing out from Lake Rweru, and then meandering east along the Rwanda-Burundi and Rwanda- Tanzania borders to join with the Ruvubu River before emptying into Lake Victoria.