Bunyoro Kingdom rejects proposal to construct Hydro Power Dam at Murchison Falls

Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom has rejected the proposed construction of a hydro power dam at Murchison Falls.

Early this 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 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. 

The notice drew uproar from the public with conservationists, saying the project would deal a devastating blow to tourism.  Now, Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom has thrown its weight behind those opposed to the project. The Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Mr Andrew Byakutaga, said they strongly condemn the move, adding that the kingdom will not at any point allow government to establish a power dam on Murchison Falls.

He said that Murchison Falls is a strong heritage and tourist attraction site for Bunyoro Kitara kingdom, adding that any development aimed at its destruction will not be tolerated. He says Murchison falls remains a strong Tourism attraction site in the Kingdom.

“We have already written to the Electricity Regulation Authority (ERA) warning them not to make any attempts to establish a power dam on Murchison Falls,” he said.    

Mr Apollo Rwamparo, the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism and Antiquities in Bunyoro Kitara kingdom, said it is rude and unacceptable for government to give away Murchison Falls for the construction of a power dam yet it is a bio-cultural site. 

“We want the government through the Energy ministry to cancel any engagements with Bonang or any other company regarding the feasibility study. Activities that are harmful to biodiversity such as dams in protected areas should be stopped and condemned in the strongest terms,” he said

Mr Rwamparo, said tourism is one of the most sustainable industries, which feed the country’s economy, even with very little government efforts, interest and investment. 

The Tourism sector alone earned the country Shs5. 8 trillion in the 2018/2019 financial year and Murchison Falls remain one of the most iconic tourist attractions in Uganda.  

Murchison Falls National Park (MFNP) is managed by the Ugandan Wildlife Authority. It is in north-western Uganda, spreading inland from the shores of Lake Albert, around the Victoria Nile, up to the Karuma Falls.   The park straddles the districts of Buliisa, Nwoya, Kiryandongo, and Masindi.  

Source: Daily Monitor