East Africa: Nile Waters for Sale? in 1929, Britain and Egypt Signed the Nile Treaty That Gave Egypt Huge Powers over the Use of Waters of the Nile River. Now Three Countries in the Nile Basin (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) Which Were under British Rule at the Time of the Agreement Want Their Fair Share of the Nile Waters. Blamuel Njuriri Reports from Nairobi

Article excerpt

East African Legislative Assembly MPs working on the Nile Treaty have come up with a radical proposal for a review that would facilitate states within the region to sell water to Egypt and Sudan.

The MPs say the three East African countries (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) must be allowed to trade in the Lake Victoria waters, a natural resource, and benefit from it, in the same way Egypt and Sudan do from oil, also a natural resource. They argue further that Egypt sells water from the Nile to Israel.

A team of East African experts meeting in Kenya's Lake Victoria town of Kisumu over the matter, were charged with the responsibility of preparing a document for discussion by the Kenyan, Ugandan and Tanzanian cabinets. Their mission is to explore the legal technicalities involved in the radical move.

The MPs, led by Speaker Abdulrahman Omar Kinana and Jared Kangwana from Kenya told a press conference at a Nairobi hotel: "Members feel time has come for the region to review the Nile Treaty for the people of the region to benefit."

Kangwana said the MPs have raised questions in the East African Assembly about the possibility of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda selling water to Egypt and Sudan.

The Nile Treaty, signed in 1929 between Egypt and the British government, has been a subject of concern in recent years, with Kenya's Nyanza MPs proposing it be renegotiated.

Dr Oburu Odinga, the MP for Bondo (Kenya), says a review of the Treaty would enable Kenya to build dams to stop flooding in Western and Nyanza provinces.

The Treaty gave Egypt exclusive rights in the use of Lake Victoria and other water bodies along the Nile. It was last revised in 1959 but retained clauses barring Nile basin countries from using the water for large-scale irrigation and other projects, without permission from Egypt.

The Treaty acknowledges Egypt's natural and historical rights to the Nile waters. …


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