« When the madness of the entire nation disturbs a solitary mind, it’s not enough to say that the man is mad » Francis Imbuga’s Betrayal in the City. This quote speaks volumes in as far as the issue of Murchison Falls is concerned.
At first, I thought it was simply a joke! For heaven’s sake, I still wish to hope that it is just a joke or one of those, « mea culpa » manœuvres that one realises it was « un faut pas » , simply abandons makes a U-turn and repents.
However realising that apparently where is smoke, there is always fire, I have decided to add my voice to the already innumerable voices concerning the Murchison Falls purported Hydropower dam.
I came to this conviction after reading Patrick Bitature’s intervention of 12th December on the same issue in the PML Daily. He, who is the chairman of UMEME board directors says «…I am a champion of Tourism and I prefer that we promote tourism in the long run, and this Murchison Falls is such a unique place ».Through the same website, I learnt that Mr.Bitature, one of Uganda’s Investment role models, was adding his voice to those of « many environmentalists including the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, who have condemned the government’s plan to resurrect plans to build a dam at the falls »
Allow me to add my groaning voice both as an environmentalist and a humanist. I’m human and whatever deeply touches humanity can not leave me indifferent. I’m also such an environmentalist who plants fruit trees on several occasions where my birthday (18th November) every year since I turned 18 is a ‘self-imposed obligatory-passion’ in view of making our world « our common home », a better place.
It hurts terribly to see that much as I put in personal and collective efforts to plant trees and encourage others to do so in order to conserve and protect our environment, there are some impassionate, egoistic souls somewhere in the Pearl of Africa trying to destroy what nature has endowed us with despite the better alternatives available.
Nature is such an amazing reality that it can surprise all of us anytime. We should consider ourselves lucky as Ugandans that we have not started feeling the real sweeping effects of the global warming of the earth like some other countries. Some signs like Bududa landslides should ring a bell in our ears. When Algeria woke up to the over flooding Mediterranean sea with several lives lost and a lot of property destroyed in 2001, little did I know that nature has no friends apart from those who take care of it.
Last year, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe were hit by the cyclone Idai with winds of 170km /h and heavy rains. The UN declared it as one of the worst weather-related disasters in Africa. Several lives were lost, a lot of people displaced and lots of properties destroyed …..It dawned on me when organising solidarity funds to help the human beings in that part of the world, that the relative peace we are enjoying with our nature shouldn’t be taken for granted. Otherwise, we might end up like the monkeys laughing at a burning forest, not knowing where they will spend the following night if we don’t take more care of our environment. Lest we find ourselves regretting later on when the consequences are terribly irreversible. Had I known comes only later?
I would like to end this article by quoting two exceptional people in this domain. The first one is Mrs. Wangari Mathaai the unforgettable Kenyan Nobel prize winner for the environment, who planted millions of trees in Kenya and beyond. She says « It’s the little things citizens do that will make the difference. My little thing is planting trees. We owe it to ourselves and to the next generation to conserve the environment so that we can bequeath our children a sustainable world that benefits all ».
The second one is Pope Francis, whom I quote not because I am a happy and proud Catholic priest but because he is the only person of that calibre to write a full engaging human text urging all of us worldwide to consider nature as our « common house. »In his encyclical about the environment in 2015, (the first of its kind), he says « the human family has received from the creator a common gift:nature ».
With this voice of mine added to that of several others before me, I conclude by saying that « let those with ears listen and those with use them to see ».