KAMPALA – The Minister for Investment, Ms. Evelyn Anite, has vowed to defend Murchison Falls from being destroyed to have a way for a power dam.
The public reacted with consternation to reports that the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) had invited a private foreign company, Bonang Power and Energy to set up a hydropower plant at the waterfalls.
The independent power producer based in South Africa says it intends to build a 360Megawatt plant.
But speaking during a tour of factories in Kapeeka Industrial Park in Nakaseke District on Tuesday, Ms. Anite said Murchison Falls in Kiryandongo district is a national treasure.
“I don’t see the logic of building a dam in Murchison Falls, yet we all know the importance of these falls. I want to assure the public that the falls will not be destroyed,” the minister said.
“We don’t agree with an investor destroying our natural resources. And I don’t expect any investor to be licensed to destroy a national treasure like Murchison falls or even operate in a wetland,” Ms. Anite said.
A petition generated by an environmental activist seeking public support against the destruction of the falls received overwhelming signatures.
And Ms. Anite said feasibility studies on Murchison should stop since the investment is not sustainable and that the country has enough hydropower.
“We have enough power, and I want to assure the country and the investors that we are committed to have a steady and reliable supply of power all the time,” Ms. Anite said.
She also praised the Chinese investors who have set up a chain of factories for manufacturing tiles, food and fruit processing, electric cables, electronic appliances, safety garments, and textiles, among others in Kapeeka Industrial Park.
The Speaker of Parliament, Ms. Rebecca Kadaga, recently tasked the government to abandon the proposed construction of a power dam at Murchison Falls in Murchison Falls National Park.
“On behalf of the citizens, I am seeking an assurance from the government that Murchison Falls is not going to be interfered with,” she said, joining a chorus of opposition by environmentalists, tourism industry players and State Investment Minister Evelyn Anite.