Ongoing excavation works at Source of the Nile Hotel has seen soil cover trees along River Nile banks.
The Chairperson of Uganda Tourism Board-UTB Chairperson, Daudi Migereko is being accused of abusing Uganda’s most unique physical feature – the source of the world’s longest river.
Local fishermen claim that the man responsible for protecting the country’s tourist attractions is dumping tonnes of soil in the beautiful banks of the River Nile, thereby distabilising the ecobalance on which the local marine life including fish has thrived for millenia. Mr Migereko has declined to respond to the local fishermen’s allegations.
Fishermen from different landing sites in Nalufenya village in Southern division in Jinja city accuse Migereko of dumping tonnes of soil along the river banks. The fishermen say that all the murrum and soil with all other components extracted from Migereko’s Source of the Nile hotel located near the river bank, by HL construction limited is being emptied in the river.
Our reporter visited the site on Monday afternoon and saw the contractors dumping the soil in the river as fishermen looked on helplessly. Yusuf Mukisa, a fisherman says that before the dumping started, each of them would catch on average 15 mature fish but the fish catch has since dropped, which has deprived them of their livelihood.
He also says that the trucks used to dump soils within the river also cover trees, which hold together soil particles along the river banks, saying this might force the river to stretch her banks towards the surrounding communities and lead to flooding.
Moses Mataaka, another fisherman says that as if emptying tonnes of soil in the river was not bad enough, the soils cintains other construction debris including plastics and concrete which have suffocated fish breeding areas. He says that this has forced fishermen to abandon the river, saying that they will only return when it has stabilized.
Jasper Masaba, a fisherman says that he is shocked by the double standards exhibited by police authorities who early this year sensitized them against encroaching on the river banks but are now silent when the banks are being polluted with tonnes of murrum and construction debris.
Joseph Isabirye, another fisherman says that the same people dumped soils in the river in May last year, causing fish scarcity for close to three months.
Both Migereko and the officials from HL construction limited declined to comment on the matter. The Jinja city council Spokesperson, Rajab Kiito also declined to comment, saying that such processes are centrally handled by the National Environmental Management Authority-NEMA, but did not say if Jinja City has contacted NEMA over the crisis.