KAMPALA – Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has scoffed at members of the cabinet over their approval to construct a dam on Murchison falls saying the move if approved would be an abuse Ugandans have entrusted in the Government.
She made the scathing attack during Wednesday’s plenary sitting where she warned Irene Muloni, Minister of Energy and Mineral Development against running the government at Uganda Media Center saying the representatives of the people of Uganda convene at Parliament, not media center.
The Speaker wondered why Government has shifted its position on Murchison Falls yet when a petition from environmentalists and tour operators came before Parliament urging Government not to interfere with Murchison falls, Government assured the Legislature that nothing would take place at the site.
“I don’t know what to say concerning the issue of Murchison falls. Now last week, I heard that a company had been cleared to construct a dam at Murchison falls. I think I have to know, what are you on? What is the Government doing? When is the Government reporting to the people of Uganda on Murchison falls? Why isn’t anybody saying anything?”
David Bahati, Minister of State for Planning at the Ministry of Finance confirmed the issued was discussed in the cabinet and the team agreed to have more studies conducted.
“The prime minister hasn’t arrived but he is on his way, but on this matter, we discussed that matter in cabinet and the Minister of Energy made a statement I think two weeks ago and said the issue of Murchison falls, we are still making some studies, there is no complete decision,” said Bahati.
However, his response angered Kadaga who told off Cabinet that there is no need for studies to be conducted at Murchison Falls remarking, “I think I will draw your attention to the constitution belong to the people and the people have continuously said we don’t want any dam there. So what are you studying? She made a statement to the cabinet, what about to the country? It is urgent, you can’t run the country by talking at the media center, with whom are you talking to?”
It should be recalled that on 3rd December 2019, Cabinet okayed the plan to construct a dam along Murchison Falls despite public outcry from environment and tourism activists that the development would be detrimental to the country.
The position of Cabinet was communicated by both Minister of Energy Irene Muloni and Minister of Tourism Ephraim Kamuntu with Muloni saying that Cabinet approved the construction on condition of having a feasibility study undertaken as the only scientific way to determine the impact of the project on the environment, tourism and ecology at the proposed site.
Muloni, however, said that Cabinet had agreed to conduct a feasibility study to assess the environmental impact of the proposed hydropower energy and that the feasibility study would be conducted on the Uhuru Falls site, not Murchison Falls where the hydropower dam will be constructed.