Migingo Island, situated in Africa, holds a unique and intriguing status. It is located on the eastern side of Lake Victoria and is known for its astonishingly small size, even smaller than a football field. Surprisingly, despite its diminutive dimensions, the island is home to a significant population.
The island finds itself at the center of a dispute between Uganda and Kenya, both nations asserting their claims over it. This tiny piece of land, surrounded by water, has become a focal point of contention.
Migingo Island can be described as one of the most densely populated islands globally, with over 100 people residing in just two thousand square meters of space. Approximately 500 people call this island their home, and their primary occupation is fishing.
The majority of the island’s fishermen do not own their own boats, and their income from fishing is meager. As a result, many of them lead challenging lives, residing in makeshift slums that they constructed on the island back in 2004.
Remarkably, there is only a single mobile phone charging shop on the island, where some salon services are also offered. Basic healthcare services have been established to address minor ailments, including malaria. Additionally, there are casino locations on the island.
The reason behind the dispute over ownership of Migingo Island lies in the fact that it takes around two hours to reach the island from Kenya. Kenyan residents of the island have petitioned their government to seek ownership through the International Court of Justice. Despite the sizable population, the island has only three toilets to serve hundreds of people.
Interestingly, there are brothels on the island, providing entertainment for the fishermen. Unfortunately, Migingo Island is marred by heaps of garbage and waste encircling its entirety. The prevalence of harmful insects is also a significant issue, contributing to health problems, including the spread of diseases like AIDS and malaria.
For those who hold Kenyan nationality on the island, they are permitted to return home once a week. Starting in 2004, Uganda began deploying armed forces to the island and collecting taxes under the guise of protecting the fishermen.
In response, Kenya dispatched naval personnel to the island. The lack of effective law and order enforcement between the islands has led to numerous complaints from fishermen about the actions of law enforcement officers from both countries.