By JAMES OMORO
Every morning the fishemen row their boats into Lake Victoria with a lot of hope for a bright day as they ascertain the number of fish trapped by nets they cast the previous night.
Netting fish is their way of life; the source of their livelihood.
Now this normal expectation has suddenly changed to anxiety for the fishermen of Mbita District of Homa Bay County.
In the recent past these fishermen have netted bombs instead of fish.
And one of them, John Oyimo, 61, is mourning his six-year-old son. A netted bomb ripped away his son’s life and destroyed his permanent house.
After burying his son, he now needs more than Sh5 million to have his house restored.
The lake is no longer full of fish, they say, but bombs — and the Government is not detonating them to reassure the fishermen and other residents that the lake is safe.
“My son was not sick but when I came home that evening, I found people mourning. . . my son had died,” says Oyimo, who now wants the Government to compensate him and other people who lose their lives or property as a result of the explosives in the lake.
Since last February, 30 live bombs ranging from 40 to 85 millimetres have been found in the lake by the fishermen.
Those who have netted bombs instead of fish wonder how the gadgets that are usually in metal boxes end up in their nets.
“Recently, I tried to pull my fishing net out of water but found it heavier than usual. I suspected I had caught giant fish which could earn me a lot of money,h only to find a bomb in my net,” says Omondi Malowa, a fisherman from Kogalo Beach.
He said a number of fishermen from Kogalo, Kiumba, Wayando, Lwanda Rombo and Utajo on Rusinga and Ngodhe islands count themselves lucky to be alive after escaping death due to the explosives. Daniel Okoth, a fisherman at Kiumba Beach, recently came across a huge bomb, which experts say is known as millimetre tank.