Environmental scarcity and trans-boundary conflicts: the case of lake victoria, 1994 - 2011
There has been an upsurge of conflicts between Kenya and Uganda over resources in Lake Victoria, more so due to water as a shared resource. This study therefore intended to establish the root causes of these conflicts, the nexus between the shared resources around the lake and environmental scarcity and the conflicts and the interventions that have been employed in finding a solution to these conflicts. The study was guided by Homer Dixon’s theory of environmental scarcity in order to clearly demonstrate the relationship between environmental scarcity and trans-boundary conflicts. The study data was obtained from both primary and secondary sources. Primary data was collected using questionnaires while secondary data was obtained from e-library, ordinary libraries, dissertations and books. Simple random sampling technique was used in selecting the respondents from the fishermen on the fishing grounds and the government agents working around the lake who were treated as the key informants. The findings show that, the major triggers of conflicts around Lake Victoria are mainly water as a shared resource, the controversy between Kenya and Uganda over Migingo Island, environmental degradation of resources around the lake, lack of clear demarcation between Kenyan and Ugandan boundaries and failure to create institutions that can successfully manage the shared natural resources around the Lake. The shared resources posed a challenge because of competing local and national interests and limited mechanisms for cooperative action between the fishermen from Kenya and Uganda hence leading to perennial break out of conflicts around the lake.