Why govt needs to save Murchison Falls

Saturday December 7 2019

 

By Editorial

People from different walks of life have added their voices to the ongoing discourse on the redevelopment, or to rightly put it, on the destruction of the eco system in the Murchison Falls National Game Park. The latest group to oppose the construction of the Murchison Falls power dam is the Uganda Law Society (ULS).
The lawyers asked government to withdraw its decision to give away Murchison Falls National Game Park for construction of a hydro-power dam, warning that it would lead to violation of peoples’ rights resulting from the adverse effects on the environment.
The ULS president, Simon Peter Kinobe, argued that the country makes a lot of money from tourism, especially from Murchison falls and previously Karuma which was taken over for dam construction, stating that people’s livelihoods should not be affected in the name of development.
According to official figures, tourism contributed up to $1.35 billion into Uganda’s export basket in 2016, and was the single highest foreign exchange earner; contributing 23.5 per cent of total exports.
Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom, where Murchison Falls is located also threw its weight behind those opposed to the proposed construction of a hydro-power dam at Murchison Falls. They strongly condemn the move saying that the kingdom will not at any point allow government to establish a power dam on Murchison Falls. The kingdom argues that Murchison Falls is a strong heritage site for Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom and it remains a strong tourism attraction site in the kingdom. Other citizens, tour operators and a section of parliamentarians have too petitioned government not to proceed with the construction of the dam.
They have voiced their concern about the unintended destruction that might accompany the development around the area. Sections of the citizenry have written compelling arguments for the preservation of the environment.
A case in point is Henry Owoko, a lawyer who argues that: “We all just seek to preserve a better world and not lose it because history books have told us about “a lost world” where dinosaurs and other creatures got extinct…however, The question is could it have been our forefathers that were part of depriving us of seeing such creatures and are we making the same mistakes by destroying what is left of earth for our unborn children?”
Let government not be driven by only the need for generating more hydro-power, which after all can still be got from other sources such as solar, and disregard many voices of reason urging it to protect the environment and one of the major sources of the country’s revenue.
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