The Speaker of Uganda’s Rebecca Kadaga has warned Cabinet against approving the construction of a power dam on Murchison Falls, arguing that it would tantamount to abuse of trust Ugandans have in the Government.
“I don’t know what to say concerning the issue of Murchison Falls. Now last week, I heard that a company had been cleared to construct a dam at Murchison falls. I think I have to know, what are you on? What is Government doing? When is the Government reporting to the people of Uganda on Murchison Falls? Why isn’t anybody saying anything?” a visibly angry Kadaga said during today’s plenary sitting.
She wondered why Government has shifted its position on Murchison Falls yet when a petition from environmentalists and tour operators came before Parliament urging Government not to interfere with Murchison falls, Government assured the Legislature that nothing would take place at the revered tourist attraction.
Responding to the Speaker, David Bahati, the Minister of State for Planning said the matter was discussed in Cabinet and a decision was made to have more studies conducted on Murchsion Falls on the posibility of building a power dam on it.
“The prime minister hasn’t arrived but he is on his way, but on this matter, we discussed that matter in cabinet and the Minister of Energy made a statement I think two weeks ago and said the issue of Murchison falls, we are still making some studies, there is no complete decision,” said Bahati.
However, Kadaga told off Cabinet that there is no need for studies to be conducted at Murchison Falls.
She also attacked Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Eng Irene Muloni for running Government at Uganda Media Centre yet representatives of the people of Uganda convene at Parliament.
“I think I will draw your attention to the Constitution; (power) belong to the people and the people have continuously said ‘we don’t want any dam there’,” Kadaga said, adding: “So what are you studying? .. you can’t run the country by talking at the media Centre, with whom are you talking to?”
Early this month, Cabinet okayed the plan by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development to go ahead with plans of constructing a dam along Murchison Falls despite public outcry from environment and tourism activists that the development would be detrimental to the country.
The position of Cabinet was communicated by both Minister of Energy Irene Muloni and Minister of Tourism Ephraim Kamuntu while addressing journalists at Uganda Media Centre this morning.
Muloni said that in making the decision, Cabinet considered the need to have the feasibility study undertaken because that would be the only scientific way to determine the impact of the project on the environment, tourism and ecology at the proposed site.
Government also changed goal posts, noting that the feasibility study would be conducted on the Uhuru Falls site not Murchison Falls.