Save Murchison Falls? Who eats waterfalls?

Sunday December 8 2019

 

By Jacobs Seaman Odongo

There is a joke doing rounds everywhere you turn to breath in Uganda now. Guys who only know about Murchison Falls from SST class, guys whose knowledge of the place is as good as of the Canadian Prairies, are busy making noise like rice birds in the name of saving a waterfall.

It so happens that this venerable government has decided that the only way the dead poles in Umeme will supply electricity to areas of Kyanja, Sonde, Bweyogerere, Kireka and Najjera is if Murchison Falls in Queen Elizabeth National Park gave way to a power dam.

And I have no problem with that, unlike so many Ugandans who are acting like they eat waterfalls or if a few chaps from Scotland went over to take selfies it powers their homes and helps them watch Arsenal and Man United record identical caricature results.

How long are we going to get hunched over things of the past? In 1986, that waterfall wasn’t even there. The NRM government brought it and Ugandans have enjoyed it for 30 more than years and counting. Given that you all keep shouting that the government is frail and will collapse soon, what is wrong with NRM taking what they brought in advance before their departure?

I mean, these are tenants who moved into a rental called Uganda with their fridge and sigiri. You want them to shift but to leave the sigiri behind?

Even me, I was angry. I wanted to make noise but on closer scrutiny, I realised that nobody eats waterfalls. A mere waterfall does not reduce unit price for electricity.

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Years ago, we were told that once we surrendered Bujagali, there would be so much electricity flowing in the country that we might not even need wires to connect them to our homes. That, as you all know, did not happen. But we cannot just give up hope. As long as the dam being fronted is not a valley dam and Spe Kazibwe is not in charge, there is hope. Since Isimbi and Karuma are proving that they will not be enough to see Umeme cease providing “areas of Najjanakumbi, Nsambya, Gaba, and Wandegeya” and at least give us some power, why don’t the rest of you be like me who is seeing hope?

We need to wake up. The current government came with a mission to ensure that all the bad things from the era of the swine are gone. Most of you only cruise on the highway and don’t know that water hyacinth is not grass on land.

One day, some enterprising Ugandan sold some chap 20 acres of land on the lake shore. It looked lush green. After a fierce wind blew on the land, there was only water left. The seller was gone, just like the water weed he had sold as land.

This story brings to mind Mabira forest. Most of us do not know why the Mabira Forest giveaway caused so much chaos. Mabira Central Forest Reserve covers an area of 306sqkm or 30,000 hectares and has a natural habitat of 312 indigenous tree species, 218 butterfly species and 97 moth species. It is home to 315 bird species, which is equivalent to 30 per cent of all the bird species found in Uganda. But can all that compare to the amount of sugar that could come from replacing it with a sugar can plantation?

Other things the swine era cursed Uganda with that the NRM has duly exorcised include UBC or what is now Cham Towers, public transport and even Busoga College Mwiri. The NRM has exorcised all these ghosts.

Those of you who think we don’t have enough waterfalls left should go and live in Bwaise for a day during a downpour or even lodge in Mbarara for a night. This kajanja of opposing everything the government does for the country’s posterity must stop.
Down with the waterfall. It is time to realise the dream of buying a unit of electricity at just Shs7.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

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