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Uganda: Stop using wives as excuses for illegal fishing, magistrate tells suspects

KAMPALA-Fronting the need to fend for family members is not an excuse for engaging in illegal fishing and does not absolve one from punishment, a magistrate has told fishermen.

The Specialized Utilities Wild and Standards magistrate, Gladys Kamasanyu, scoffed suspects in a session where a group of about 30 fishermen were charged with using prohibited fishing nets and unlicensed boats to fish in Lake Victoria.

The magistrate was provoked to reprimand the suspects after reading the charges and 13 of them suspects opted to plead guilty.

However, when she inquired why they engaged in banned activities most of them fronted issues about their wives for their suspected illegal fishing activities.

One said his wife died last month and so he had to fend for the children, another said she was in labour and therefore he was looking for money to pay hospital bills, another said she was sick and pregnant.

“So far all men who have appeared before me today have given those same reasons.

It rare to find a woman giving excuses for her mischief having been influenced by the status of her husband,”Ms Kamasanyu said.

“It really irritates to see someone telling lies to court and linking it to someone else. Don’t you know that the word creates? Some of you say your wives died months ago yet later we find they are among the court audience,” she said.

The suspects who pleaded guilty were identified only as Wakabi, Musana, Katongole, Kyobe, Mutebi, Ssekyeye Nsengiyumva, Obonyo, Ssemwanga, Mukiibi, Karisa and Sadat Ssempijja all residents of in Bwerenga in Wakiso District.

Ms Kamasanyu sentence the suspects to fines ranging from Shs 400,000 to 200,000 and in default to be imprisoned for nine- months.

Prosecution said on October 12, Uganda Peoples’ Defence Force (UPDF) officers arrested the convicts during night operations on Lake Victoria waters in Bwerenga in Wakiso District after they found them using prohibited nets and vessels to fish.

By Daily monitor

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