King of Bunyoro Solomon-Iguru

Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom has joined and groups within and outside Uganda to go against the planned construction of a hydro power dam at the spectacular Murchison Falls famous for tourist attraction.

Days ago state minister for tourism came out to say that government had approved a proposal for a feasibility study at the same site, which could pave way for the construction of the hydropower dam.

“Cabinet has now agreed to a feasibility study on the project and the study will give us a way forward,” he said.

“We need to conserve our natural environment but also we need electricity because if we don’t produce more power, people may end up cutting trees for fuel and destroy the environment.”

But Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Mr. Andrew Byakutaga, said the institution and its subjects strongly condemn the move, saying that the kingdom will not allow government to establish a power dam on Murchison Falls.

Byakutaga said Murchison Falls is a strong heritage and tourist attraction site for Bunyoro Kitara kingdom, further stating that any development aimed at its destruction will not be tolerated. “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.

Early this year, the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) published a notice in the local media saying  it had received an application from Bonang Power and Energy (Pty) Limited for the construction of a power dam in Murchison Falls that occur in Kiryandongo and Nwoya districts.

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.

Civil society organisations (CSOs), tour companies as well as prominent individuals in the country have vehemently rejected government’s proposal to have a dam built at the Falls.

Just last week, about 20 CSOs concerned with saving the environment, led by Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) wrote to President Yoweri Museveni to declare no dam will be built at the Falls.