President Yoweri Museveni has blamed the tragic incident in which tens of people died on Lake Victoria on Saturday to the negligence of the operators of the vessel on which they were cruising.
In a strong worded statement issued Sunday, Museveni said that preliminary information indicates that the boat in question was overloaded, with an excess load of 70 people.
He also revealed that the boat was unlicensed and unregistered.
“According to preliminary information from the security services, this, apparently, was a private, unregistered, unlicensed and maybe uninsured boat,” Museveni said.
Instead of 50 people which the boat’s capacity could carry, the President said it had about 120 passengers on board.
As such, the President has promised that the operators of the boat will be severely penalised for what he termed as negligence.
“Obviously, the operators of this boat will be charged with criminal negligence and manslaughter, if they have not already been punished for their mistake by dying in the accident,” Museveni said.
The boat is said to have been owned by an individual named Templa Bissase and his wife, both of whom, apparently, perished in the accident.
According to the information by the President, the couple along with the other people on board were coming from a private beach and headed to another private beach in Mukono area. The captain of the boat is still unaccounted for.
So far, 26 people have been rescued, according to the UPDF. The death toll now stands at 29, according to the President’s statement.
Museveni has commiserated with families that have lost their loved ones in the incident.
“I send condolences to the families of the people who died in the accident on Lake Victoria last evening,” he said.
Museveni says that government has ordered “the electronic registration and monitoring of all the boats so that we can know who is where on the lake and why”.
He advised the public to take lessons from Saturday’s tragedy, regarding safety. He cautioned against overloading and for the operators of the vessel to ensure there are standby engines, life jackets and reliable navigation among other safety precautions.