KAMPALA – The government has shifted its position from constructing a hydropower dam at Murchison Falls, turning attention to Uhuru falls 600 meters away from Murchison falls.
Appearing before the Natural Resources Committee of Parliament on Tuesday, February 11, 2020, the State Minister for Energy Simon D’UJanga said that they are going to carry out a study to assess the impact that might be caused by the construction of the hydropower dam at Uhuru.
The MPs sitting on the committee chaired by Kiboga East legislator Dr. Keefa Kiwanuka rejected his submission-tasking him to provide details of the firm that intends to carry out the study.
Minister D’UJanga could not avail prompting the committee to throw him out.
Nineteen (19) civil society organizations petitioned President Museveni to unequivocally declare that his government will never build a dam at Murchison and Uhuru falls or any other place in Murchison Falls National Park (MFNP).
Led by Dickens Kamugisha, the Chief Executive Officer of the African Centre for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), the CSOs reminded the President that Uganda has a number of laws including the 1995 constitution, 2019 National Environment Act, 2019 Uganda Wildlife Act, the National Forestry and Tree Planting Act and others which provide for regulation of the environment to promote biodiversity conservation in the country.
“Despite the above legal framework, Uganda continues to face untold environmental degradation including threats brought about by oil activities in the Albertine Graben,” the 8-page petition reads in part.
Last year the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) published a notice in newspapers indicating that it had received an application from Bonang Power and Energy (Pty) Limited for the construction of a power dam in Murchison Falls.
“ERA has under section 29 of the Electricity Act 1999 received a notice of intended application of a license from Bonang Power and Energy(Pty) Limited for the generation and sale of electricity from a hydropower plant proposed to be established near Murchison Falls in Kiryandongo and Nwoya districts,” read the notice published in the government-owned New Vision.
The notice drew uproar from the public with conservationists, saying the project would deal a devastating blow to tourism.
In September 2019, the then Minister for Tourism, Hon. Ephraim Kamuntu indicated that the cabinet had agreed to instruct the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) to stop the feasibility processes by Bonang Power and Energy Ltd that included the construction of a dam at Murchison Falls.