Uganda’s Cabinet Agrees to Allow a Feasibility Study Done on Murchison Falls For a Hydropower Plant Construction
For Murchison falls is under the spotlight once again and this time around its not for all the right reasons. For the last half of this year, Murchison falls has been the centre of controversy given the government’s intention to build hydropower plant at these falls.
These intentions first came to light in June 2019 when an application letter to the Electricity Regulation Authority (ERA) from a South African energy company named Bonang Power & energy ltd to conduct a feasibility study to assess the viability of constructing a 600Mw hydropower plant at Murchison falls had leaked to the general public.
This leakage before even ERA could even respond to the company sparked off a chain bitter responses from various wildlife stakeholders such as tour operators who sell Uganda tour experiences to Murchison falls as part of their Uganda wildlife safari packages in Murchison falls national park. Conservation agencies such as “Uganda Wildlife Authority“ were also concerned that this dam would be a detriment to the biodiversity of the greater Murchison falls ecosystem. In a bid to save this heritage the tourism fraternity carried out a campaign dabbed “Save Murchison Falls“ and also carried out an online drive in which they collected over 100000 signatures to a petition to the president of the Republic of Uganda in which they wanted the president to stop such a venture being undertaken.
The Ugandan legislators in the parliament also summoned the ministers concerned to give an official stand about the government’s position on this issue and the minister Mary Katutu who was available vehemently defended the government saying it wasn’t considering undertaking that proposal which was such a relief to the tourism and conservation stakeholders.
However, as tourism and conservation fraternity were still congratulating themselves for a job well done about saving Murchison, the State Minister for Tourism, Hon. Godfrey Kiwanda while addressing a stakeholders meeting convened by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) in Kampala on Wednesday 27, November 2019 revealed the plans of the government.
Kiwanda revealed that the government is in the process of drafting a paper to steer the feasibility study process only 3 months after the fire had seemed been put out. This again got everyone concerned up in arms.
Unlike the first time this time, it seemed like it was the cabinet that was interested in having this feasibility carried out. Only a few days after the revelations had been made by the tourism minister, the minister of state for energy Irene Muloni together with the cabinet Minister for tourism Ephraim Kamutu held a joint press conference in which they only gave the government official position about this matter which was in favour of conducting the feasibility.
2 days ago Uganda tourism fraternity composed of tour operators, conservationists and nature lovers make a Uganda tour to the top of Murchison Falls where they held a press conference and discussed reasons why the falls are important heritage site that shouldn’t be even up for discussion when it comes to sites suitable for construction of hydropower plants.
Given Murchison falls popularity and beauty it has been chosen by Rough guide a British travel guide like one of the best places to visit in 2020.
You can read that story here.
What does history tell us all about this?
From people who have lived long enough to Uganda pass through phases of political bickering and immaturity, its believed that history is just repeating itself as this isn’t the first time Murchison falls is being at the center of controversy in regard to being a good site for a hydropower plant. A senior citizen who has seen it all says that the first time Murchison Falls was threatened with the proposal of building a dam near it, was in 1964 or thereabout.
Erisa Kironde the then all-powerful General Manager of Uganda Electricity Board (UEB) and a close friend of Prime Minister Apollo Milton Obote, came up with a proposal to build a dam on top of the falls, in the quest of increasing power supply. All sorts of arguments in support of and justification for the dam project were advanced by those in favour. They even argued that the dam was going to be built underground and therefore would not disturb the environment!!! Can you believe that? On the other hand, Katete who was the head of the Wildlife body under, which the docket of national parks management fell, including Murchison Falls because it is located in the heart of the aptly named Murchison Falls National Park.
Katete and the like-minded together with conservationists wouldn’t hear any of it and put up a spirited fight against the construction of the dam. Interestingly they argued as we are doing today that, construction of the dam would interfere with the ecosystem, by interfering with the flow of water. The noise and fumes would chase away game and render the gazetted game park obsolete.
As a result, few if any tourists would care to visit the game park, which would adversely affect the national economy, which at that time was relying heavily on the booming tourism Industry. Many first-class hotels and luxury lodges had been built nationwide near and within national parks to cater to high-end tourists. Among such facilities were Masindi Hotel, Para Safari Lodge hence laying a strong foundation for the strong and vibrant Uganda tourism sector that is literally feeding the country as we speak today.
Incidentally, just like today, where the president is seemingly maintaining a deaf ear to all this, Obote literally did exactly the same thing back then only until it became so polarising that he had to appoint a Commission of inquiry to look into the matter and recommend solutions and I have every reason to believe we are heading in the same direction even this time around. To cut the long story short, the conservationist or Katete’s side won and Murchison falls lived to see another day which has and it has remained so for the last 50 years and still counting because I choose not to believe that its all over for this signature landmark that continues to make everyone who visits these falls ending up loving Uganda even more.
What do we stand to lose?
Being the world’s most powerful waterfalls, Murchison falls allure many Uganda wildlife safaris visitors to make Uganda trips to Murchison falls national park to see these majestic falls. This greatly emphasizes the point that why this national park is the most visited of all national parks in Uganda receiving over 100000 visitors in 2018. Murchison falls National park is majorly visited by many tourists who opt to enjoy short Uganda tours due to limited time they have to enjoy a Uganda safari.
Murchison falls park being a destination that has a rich wildlife diversity and relatively close to Kampala just like Lake Mburo National Park is as well. These 2 parks are highly favored by these tourists on short Uganda safaris other than the other national parks which are a bit far away like Bwindi Impenetrable national park, Mgahinga gorilla national park and Kidepo Valley National Park which is the farthest of all. All these figures mean that the tourism sector Uganda’s biggest foreign exchange earner contributing 2.9% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product and 7.3% of the country’s GDP indirectly.
Other rated article on Murchison falls
Lake Mburo National Park another favourite short Uganda wildlife tour destination
Although not as famous as Murchison falls park, Lake Mburo National park Uganda is yet another beautiful short Uganda wildlife tours destination that gives epic Uganda wildlife tour experiences. A safari Uganda to Lake Mburo puts you in the best position to see several of the amazing Uganda safari attractions in Lake Mburo National Park as it is gifted with a rich biodiversity that is evidenced by existence of mammals like zebras, hyenas, topi, reedbucks, deffassa waterbucks, impala, elands, leopards, hippos and oribis.
Wild mammals aren’t the only tourist attractions in lake Mburo that make this Uganda tour to Lake Mburo a must-do for every Africa wildlife safari enthusiast but it is also about 350 bird species and a Uganda birding safari to Lake Mburo gives a chance to see several of bird species such as shoebill stork, African finfoot, white-winged warbler, crested francolin, barefaced go-away bird, brown parrot, emerald spotted wood dove, Nubian woodpecker, lilac-breasted roller, southern red bishop, black-billed barbet, yellow-throated longclaw.
With all these attractions in Lake Mburo National park, a Uganda safaris to lake Mburo National Park should be nothing less than epic because you’re guaranteed a beautiful time as you get to engage in a wide range of tourist activities in Lake Mburo with the commonest Uganda safari activity in lake Mburo being game drives, boat cruise over the Lake Mburo, birding and horse riding biking.
Finally don’t miss out on an epic cultural encounter as you visit the local Banyakole communities that are found adjacent to Lake Mburo Park as part of a series of your safari activities in Lake Mburo National Park Uganda. Would you like to engage in several of the activities mentioned above? Then plan for an overnight stay while on your safari in Uganda to Lake Mburo. Choosing where to stay in Lake Mburo shouldn’t get you rattled because this park has a wide variety of Uganda safari accommodations in Lake Mburo National Park where you can stay as you explore this tropical savanna paradise.
Regardless of your class, Lake Mburo has got you covered with an accommodation type that fits within your budget type and class. Africa safari tourists on a high-end budget can stay in any of the luxury safari lodges in Lake Mburo Park such as Mihingo Lodge and Matan Tented Camp. Those on a standard budget can stay in mid-range safari lodges in Lake Mburo like Lake Mburo Safari Lodge, Rwakobo Rock Safari Lodge, Acardia Cottages, those on a small budget can stay in any numerous budget safari lodges in Mburo such as Eagle Nest Camp and Rwonyo safari camp.
Would you like to visit Murchison Falls National Park or lake Mburo park?, Look for Wild Gorilla safaris or Prime Safaris. At Wild Gorilla Safaris, we strive to meet all your Africa safari needs as we have got virtually the safari packages that will give you a memorable Africa safari experience. For anyone interested in Uganda wildlife safaris packages we have got you covered with wide range of packages that are tailored basing on the number of days you have and the destination you would like to visit on your Uganda safari tour. If you’ve got only a few days, then choose from our short Uganda wildlife safaris which run from 2 days to 5 days such as 2 days Uganda wildlife safari to Murchison falls or 5 days Uganda wildlife safari with chimpanzees and many more. For those that have got more than 5 days, then I suggest pick from our compressive long Uganda wildlife safaris that run from 6 days to as many as 21 days such as
On top of an epic Uganda safari adventure to many of these savanna parks, you have an opportunity to encounter mountain gorillas. Yes, a Uganda gorilla tour experience is very possible when you visit gorilla trips in Uganda destinations Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. A Uganda gorilla safari to any of these parks gives you an opportunity to meet any of the 19 gorilla families that have been habituated to give you nothing but the ultimate Uganda gorilla tours experience, you can ever think of.
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Rwanda is also another gorilla destination you wouldn’t want to miss out on, hence if you are planning for a Rwanda gorilla safari package, check out some of our Rwanda gorilla tours packages which also come in form of short Rwanda gorilla gorilla safaris for those that have got only a few days in Rwanda but those that have got more days, then Long Rwanda gorilla trekking safari packages will do you good as they also give you a chance to visit other Rwanda safari attractions.
Congo as well is another gorilla destination and we have numerous Congo gorilla safari packages that will take you on a Congo gorilla tour adventure to either Virunga National Park for an encounter with mountain gorillas or Kahuzi Beiga National Park where you will encounter Eastern lowland gorillas. Besides gorilla safaris and wildlife encounters in Uganda, you can still explore Uganda’s diversity using any of our wide range of day trips that visit other sites that are near the capital city Kampala or Entebbe international airport such as a Mabamba birding day trip to Mabamba island Kampala city tour day tour Jinja day tour and 1 day Ngamba island chimpanzee safari. Check out our great east Africa safari to such as Kenya safari tours and Tanzania safari tour that take you on an Africa wildlife safari adventure to Kenya and Tanzania respectively.
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