Hoteliers, Bobi Wine join fight to save Murchison falls
- Written by JOSEPH BAHINGWIRE & ALFRED OCHWO
A licence application by South African firm, Bonang Power and Energy (Pty) Limited, to construct a hydro power dam at Murchison falls, a waterfall between Lake Kyoga and Lake Albert on the White Nile, has sparked a public backlash from rattled environmentalists, tourism enthusiasts and politicians.
Murchison falls, is the centrepiece of the Murchison Falls national park. This stretch of the river draws elephants, giraffes and buffaloes; while hippos, Nile crocodiles and aquatic birds are permanent residents.
The People Power Movement led by Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine (Kyadondo East MP) says the proposed give-away will greatly diminish the country’s tourism sector since Murchison falls is one of the largest tourism attractions in the country. Joel Ssenyonyi, the group’s spokesperson, said recently that establishing a hydro power dam at the falls will destroy a great piece of tourism that has attracted many foreign visitors.
“As a country, we export power; why can’t we balance things up so that we retain the power we need and deal with the shortfalls? It is also high time we invested in other energy sources such as bio gas and solar if we feel the electricity we have is not enough,” he said.
Ssenyonyi said government needs to invest more in tourism because it’s the country’s leading foreign exchange earner raking in about $1.6 billion a year, instead of destroying bits of it.
The Association of Uganda Tour Operators also condemned the proposed dam at Murchison falls, saying it will diminish marketing efforts to attract visitors to Uganda. Everest Kayondo, chairman of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators, told a press conference at Hotel Africana that, “The tourism sector was earmarked by government of Uganda as one of the five key growth sectors for the country’s economy in the second National Development Plan. For the government to go against its word and destroy this sector is to act selfishly….”
The tourism sector Annual Performance report 2017/18 shows that over the past 10 years, tourist arrivals into Uganda have steadily climbed from 850,000 in 2008 to over 1.4 million in 2017 and it continued to be the leading foreign exchange earner for the Ugandan economy by generating $1,453 billion compared to $1,371 billion in 2016.
Kayondo added that giving the falls away will cause loss to the Ugandan tourism business owners and many Ugandans who depend directly and indirectly on the Murchison falls for employment and livelihood.
Hoteliers, allied to the Uganda Hotel Owners Association (UHOA), have also petitioned President Museveni to save the falls. They argue that Murchison Falls national park combines three tourism aspects; wildlife, hiking and the waterfalls, which the country cannot afford to lose.
They say the country has already lost Bujagali and Owen falls.
Take a look at that GM kiddo that our enemies planted on lake Victoria.
Has African Governments concerned even tried to clean it up? How much money is East Africa loosing as a result of that manufactured grass remaining there?
Lake Victoria, Marchson falls all those are colonial names have we changed them back to their original names???????
There is no need to change names because they were given by colonial authority, especially as Uganda was a British Protectorate & not colony as Kenya, India...& we didn't take to arms to obtain independences, but just a few months of negotiations both in Uganda & UK, in peace!
Amin//Museveni are the only colonisers Uganda has ever known!
[Murchison Falls national park combines three tourism aspects; wildlife, hiking and the waterfalls, which the country cannot afford to lose.]
Those of us who know this area, know building power station would be more dangerous to humans & nature, than any thing else; it's a God given natural land!
Just crossing over the bridge makes one understand this place MUST not be tampered with, especially in the name of development/power station, leave alone farming!
Why not take chance with mp Bobi Wine, if only to ensure UNITY to throw Museveni out?
When Museveni is out, tribal leaders will go back to their posts & become real leaders of their people!
Then State House-parliament will become meusumes visited by Ugandans & the money redistributed to the entire zone, independent tribes will manage Natural Parks & other land riches!
I don't understand why Ugandans didn't take chance with Dr Besigye & can't doso with mp Bobi Wine!
What has Museveni done for Ugandans so that they won't take chance with Bobi Wine now to ensure he is out & what will our people do when the only ruler they want will be no more?
If Algeria/Sudan had a Bobi Wine each, they would have put in place working administrations by now!
As if that is not enough, another greedy lot of foreigners from South African have come up with another crazy idea that our power thirsty leaders cannot resist.
Who needs additional power when what we have is being exported. Why Murchison falls of all things, somebody wants to leave a legacy in five years that he failed to work on to work on since 1986.
Where will our elephants and hippos go, eh? they want to cement all the green sites with their greed. This is our God given beauty and we will protect it with all the available means if possible.
No wonder they are now marrying Uganda girls to hoodwink us into oblivion. Building this dam will not add another plate on our tables. The spirits of Rwot Awich, Hemingway and Churchill should haunt these individuals!
Ugandan companies should also go to South Africa and open industries in South Africa's Kruger national park...!!!!!
Rubangakene, the Boers are in ruthless cahoot with Mr. M7 to rundown this country for "personal wealth". E.g. who is behind the murders in Apaa and the land-grabbing that goes with it?
In other words, the current segregation in education (UPE, USE, etc. [useless]); healthcare system and salary disparity in government departments (statutory authorities) is exploitative and apartheid in practice.