GROWING OPPOSITION TO MURCHISON FALLS POWER PLANT PLANS AS FIRST ONLINE PETITIONS COLLECT SIGNATURES
(Posted 10th June 2019)
(Picture by the author)
Resistance is getting into gear in Uganda over plans to build a hydro electrip power plant at Murchison Falls, one of the country’s greatest tourism attractions and resources.
Murchison Falls is already under scrutiny over plans to extract oil from inside the park and suggestions have been circulating that, once the infrastructure will be put in place a sizeable section of the park will be off limits for game drives, in an area rich in wildlife for that matter and presently forming the core area for wildlife viewing.
This latest assault on the integrity of the park and its very fabric has within a day already attracted 2.500 signatures on a petition to generate global support against the plans and more petitions are being prepared through online platforms, ATCNews understands.
Particularly one Julius Wandera, spokesperson for the Energy Regulatory Authority, is coming under fire over his contention that the power plant would not be harmful to the park and the falls. When challenged he reportedly change tack and suggested that government, owning all public land, could build a dam anywhere it chooses but upon further challenges began to cave in and reportedly said this was only a first application which would have to undergo a full process or evaluation.
Similar efforts went underway a few weeks ago when it became known that elements within government were siding with a sugar producer to raze Bugoma Forest and instead grow sugar cane, prompting immediate protests from an increasingly reactive tourism industry, now caring more about the country’s resources than staying on the good side of government.
Several tourism ‘leaders’ initially caught unaware of the developments, when seeing the rising tide of opposition from within rank and file of the sector, then promptly jumped the bandwagon, one going as far as admitting that he had not believed the initial report filed by ATCNews.org until he got mobbed into action by outraged tourism stakeholders.