KAMPALA – Lawmakers have rejected the proposal for the establishment of the Hydro-Power dam at Uhuru falls adjacent to the Murchison Falls National Park, with Speaker Rebecca Kadaga ordering Committee on Natural Resources to investigate the matter.
The decision followed a statement tabled by Minister of State for Energy, Eng Simon D’Ujanga who informed Parliament that following public outcry, the government had halted plans of developing of Uhuru Fall site at the Murchison Falls National Park.
D’Ujanga said that the plan to develop Uhuru falls was suspended in order to make scientifically informed decisions since Uhuru and Murchison Falls are adjacent to each other so as to determine the impact this project would have on the environment, ecology and tourism.
However, a section of MPs including Lilly Adong (Nwoya Woman), James Baba (Koboko County) and Micheal Timuzigu (Kajara County) rejected the statement from the Minister arguing that the project is being pushed by investors with ill intention and the best option is for Government to abandon the plan because it is set to destroy the area heritage.
Adong said, “An investor with ill intentions to destroy our heritage comes in this country with very good project and our cabinet simply endorses, I believe this project is in bad faith.”
Baba wondered why the government was hell-bent on constructing the hydro-dam yet Ugandans have opposed the project stating, “What I know is that Ugandans have already pronounced themselves that there should be no dam there, why to conduct the study when we have already made the decision to be there. The two Ministers should abort this futile exercise.”
Timuzigu questioned the motive behind the project yet the government has informed the nation how Uganda has excess electricity.
“In our national park, the Uhuru Falls are the most cherished. We all know that we attract more tourists every year and it is because of the falls are unique in the whole land. it has been mentioned by the Ministry of Energy that the power we have, at the moment we can’t use, we need more investors to use the power, which means the power is idle. I need to understand, why are we struggling to destroy the resources we have,” said Timuzigu.
Lawmaker Waira Majegere pointed out that Rippon falls along River Nile in Jinja were killed under the reign of Minister Dújang and the same Minister is now looking for another candidate and after destroying Rippon falls hasn’t brought down the cost of electricity.
Another lawmaker, Anthony Akol told Parliament that the company that has been awarded the contract to construct a dam at Murchison falls carried out the feasibility study and not Government.
However, Ephraim Kamuntu, Minister of Tourism said that the Uhuru falls where the feasibility study will be undertaken are seasonal falls and no decision should be taken without a scientific study.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga questioned Kamuntu’s statement remarking, “Then how can Government construct a dam where there are seasonal falls?”
The Speaker referred the matter on the establishment of a Hydro-Power dam at Uhuru Falls in the Murchison Falls National Park to the Committee on Natural resources for further scrutiny, and they report back to Parliament.