In their joint letter to President Museveni, CSOs appeal to him 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.
The Murchison Falls
section of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have jointly written to
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni demanding him to declare that no dam is
constructed at Murchison Falls.
The letter dated 28th November
is signed by Dickens Kamugisha, the Executive Director of Africa
Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO).
The other eighteen CSOs
members who signed include; Oil Refinery Residents Association (ORRA),
Citizens Concern Africa (CICOA), Action Coalition on Climate Change
(ACCC), Africa Initiative on Food Security and Environment, Centre for
Constitutional Governance (CCG), Great Lakes Institute for Strategic
Studies, Environment Conservation Trust of Uganda and others.
Observer recently reported that there was a recent Cabinet node to the
construction of a power dam on the falls. It was reported that the
Minister of State Godfrey Kiwanda Ssuubi said that their stand as the
ministry of Tourism was that, there was no need to even carry out a
feasibility study to show whether government benefits more from tourism
or electricity that will be produced from the dam.
decided that there should be a feasibility study. But our position is
clear, we shouldn’t have a dam on the falls because that’s likely to
affect tourism. We agreed to have a scientific study and any decision on
whether to build a dam or not should be based on a scientific study,”
Kiwanda reportedly said.
Early this year, the Electricity
Regulatory Authority (ERA) in a Newspaper advert called for bids to
build a dam on Murchison Falls. The advert attracted an uproar from
sections of the public with conservationists saying if constructed, it
was going to deal a devastating blow to tourism.
Now in their
joint letter to President Museveni, CSOs have appealed to him to
unequivocally declare that the government will never build a dam at
Murchison Falls and Uhuru falls or any other place in Murchison falls
"We request you to make this declaration of
commitment as a gift to Ugandans for 2019. This will end fear among
Ugandans and increase trust in your leadership," reads part of the
They also want the President to cancel any contract with
Bonang or any other company regarding the feasibility study. They
request that funds meant for the dam should instead be invested into
clean renewable energy.
"We are a consortium of Civil Society
Organizations (CSOs) working with ordinary Ugandans across the country.
Our work gives us the privilege and honour to interact with ordinary
citizens on a day to day basis. As such, we often come face to face with
the reality of the impacts of degraded ecosystems such as forests,
wetlands, rivers, lakes, national parks, game reserves and others.
Degrading of the above ecosystems has left thousands of communities in
untold suffering," further reads the letter.
They note that the
Tourism sector earned 1.6 billion for the country in 2018/2019 financial
year and that the Murchison falls remain one of the most iconic tourist
attractions and that it is the reason why the falls landscape has been
attracting some if the highest numbers if tourists in the country.
CSOs also remind the President that Uganda is signitory to many
international conservation agreements and conventions including the
Paris Climate Change Agreement, the Social Development Goals (SDGs) and
others. They says that these emphasise conservation by avoiding
activities that are harmful to biodiversity such as dams and any other
industrial or infrastructural development in protected areas.
the CSOs commend Museveni for his commitment to promoting and
safeguarding the critical biodiversity and natural heritage across the
country citing the recent directives stopping those degrading wetlands,
lakes and river banks, forests and others.
They however appeal to
him to go a step further to ensure that the directives and conservation
laws are enforced and complied with.