Do not Dam the River Nile in Murchison Falls Park
It is a lousy Idea – NO DAM-Save Murchison Falls – it is one of Uganda’s Natural Wonders
NO DAM-Save Murchison Falls, the most potent Waterfall in the world. To Dam, the River Nile here is simply a stupid idea. There should not even be a discussion of the proposed dam bid by the South African Bonang Power and Energy Company. But sadly, the proposal is being considered, according to an advert that was published in The New Vision Newspaper.
The Ugandan Electricity Regulatory Authority has given South African energy company Bonang Power and Energy (Pty) limited the green light to undertake feasibility studies at Murchison Falls and other activities leading to the development of a 360MW power dam.
The generated electricity will be sold to the Uganda Electricity Company Limited and fed to the national grid.
No, it is not April Fools Day, it is real, and Lake Murchison instead of Murchison Falls is a possibility if the Bonang Power and Energy and their partners in Uganda have their way. It is not the first time that it has been proposed that a dam should be built at Murchison Falls. The idea was being actively considered under former President of Uganda, Milton Obote. The idea then faded into nothingness when he was removed from power.
The short-sighted bureaucrats at the Ugandan Electricity Regulatory Authority have made a mistake not to reject outright such an ill-thought-through project. Anyone with enough sense, understanding of the implications for Uganda as a Tourist Destination would have done so.
Trading a Major Tourist Attraction – a locally sacred Site to the Bunyoro Kingdom, a natural Wonder on the Nile for a few megawatts, is just economic nonsense. It must be stopped now before it is allowed to go any further.
Even Idi Amin, who as president of Uganda, ruined the economy, destroyed tourism by closing down parks to visitors. He, himself, however, enjoyed Murchison Falls Park very much, he enjoyed the Falls, the River Nile, and its wildlife. He did not build a dam, propose a dam, he changed the name of the Falls to Kabalega Falls after the King of the Bunyoro Kingdom.
One finds such a ludicrous proposal as building a dam at Murchison Falls perplexing since it is counter to what President Museveni has said about Tourism, and preserving Uganda’s Natural Scenic wonders which make Uganda the Pearl of Africa. President Museveni is a frequent visitor to the park and knows that it is one of the crown jewels of Ugandan Tourism, why then would others mess with that.
NO DAM-Save Murchison Falls – Uganda is about to make a mistake that will cost a lot of money in terms of lost Tourism Dollars, lost Tourism-related jobs. Tourist, domestic, or international ones will not come to visit Lake Murchison Park. Tourists come to see the most powerful Waterfall in the world.
Most Tourists are eco-minded and conservationists. To them, a dam would be sacrilegious. The would do their safari in neighboring Rwanda instead of Uganda.
Uganda now Plans to Dam Uhuru Dam adjacent to Murchison Falls Park
Uhuru Falls is part of the Murchison Falls Landscape. Its name Uhuru means Freedom. A waterfall, like Murchison Falls, not intended to be contained nor harnessed. “We have lost so much. We can’t lose everything… Why don’t we spare this particular one? Are we going to dot the entire Nile with dams?” said Benedict Ntale, vice-president of the Uganda Tour Operators Organisation.
Tourism is Uganda’s biggest earner of foreign exchange, and the industry generates close to 10 percent of GDP. The proposed Dam cannot replace the income produced by Visitors to Murchison Falls Park. Murchison Falls Park has become the number one visited park in Uganda. It will not be that if the Dam is built and many of 75,000 visitors will not visit of what will be a defaced park.
Already Murchison Falls Park is under threat from oil exploration and production. The tourism sector has accepted oil exploration as part of the present reality. That is not will not be the case when the very Icon of the park is removed.
There will be fewer visitors to Murchison Falls Park. It will have an impact on Northern Uganda Tourism and affect other tourism destinations in the area. Something that the Tourism industry does not need and want.
Building a Hydroelectric Plant inside of Uganda’s first Wildlife Reserve makes no sense. Tourism, on the other hand, does.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has overshadowed the proposed Dam. The issue and problem of the Dam remains.
Elections are coming up in Uganda. A Murchison Falls Park can influence some voters in their decisions at the ballot box. One just has to remember the impact that Mabira Forest and the resulting demonstrations that took place in the streets in Kampala. The giveaway of Mabira Forest was rescinded.
The right choice for Mabira Forest as a no dam decision will be for Murchison Falls Park.
The Stark Naked Reality is this: Uganda, its leadership, cannot claim to be conservation-minded by damming the River Nile at such at an eco-fragile point. Neither can it claim to be a leader in eco-minded tourism. It will cost Uganda millions in Tourism dollars. Eco-Minded Tourist will choose to go elsewhere.
Murchison Falls Park is Uganda’s most visited National Park-Rough Guides placed it on its must Visit List for 2020. One wishes that someone would logically calculate the Benefits that tourism brings to the country versus some extra kilowatts. A feasibility study, in response Conservationists, Tour Operators, have once again sounded the alarm bell. The struggle has taken a dramatic downturn.
The word development is often tossed about in Uganda. Our suggestion – develop tourism by conserving the Natural Wonders Nature has gifted Uganda. The return in dollars, shillings will be much higher than the sale of a few more kilowatts of power.
Murchison Falls is on Ugandan Soil. However, the River Nile transcends nationalities. People in Africa and around the world have a deep and vested interest in what happens along the River’s journey. Uganda, as Stewart of the River Nile since the White Nile’s source, is in Uganda, has responsibilities that go beyond its borders.
The world is watching whether Uganda, its government will act as Stewarts of what has been entrusted to them, the River Nile and Murchison Falls. Uganda can disregard voices from Uganda and around the world and build a dam. Then Uganda will reap the harvest since Uganda will be seen as acting irresponsible. It is the image of Uganda that once again is on the table.
NO DAM-Save Murchison Falls – the Most Powerful Waterfall in the World. We do not want Lake Murchison. There is already is one in Tasmania, Australia. We already have Lake Bujagali, lake Isimba, Lake Karuma, where former Tourist Attractions were tampered with by the government.
We already have oil exploration and upcoming oil extraction from the earth at Murchison Falls, and no second potentially ruinous Projects to local Wildlife, Birds, and Tourism, both International and Domestic, are necessary.
The potential financial loss outweighs the temporary gain of a few megawatts. The damage to Tourism, tourism-related jobs for communities around Murchison Fall far outweighs temporary electrical benefits.
Most Ugandans are still unaware of the dam proposal. If they knew about it would raise their blood pressure a bit.
One remembers the Mabira Forest Protests and shudders. It is for many Ugandans an even more passionate issue. The Solution is simple, deny the application and proposal.
Destroying the most powerful Waterfall in the world is equivalent to selling one’s soul to the devil for temporary gains. Enough has been sacrificed at the altar of progress and development. Destroying Murchison Falls in the name of development is a regression, a step backward. It is in the opinion of some unpatriotic to further damage the Pearl of Africa by destroying one of its national symbols that Uganda has been entrusted.
For 70 plus Years and longer, Murchison Falls has been one of Uganda Prime Tourist Attraction.
The British explorers, Tourists, were John Speke, and James Grant were the first Europeans to visit Murchison Falls and Karuma Falls in 1862. Samuel and Florence Baker visited in 1863-4, and a hippo overturned their boat.
They were the ones that named the falls Murchison Falls after the geologist Roderick Murchison, then the president of the Royal Geographical Society.
Long before Gorilla Tourism, there were hundreds of Tourists flocking to Murchison Falls Park in northern Uganda. To its advantage, there was the International Airport on Lake Albert at Butiaba, which was a half-way stop for flights from Cairo to Capetown.
The S.S. Robert Coryndon plowed the waters of Lake Albert. It would bring tourists up the Nile to Murchison Falls Park.
In the heyday of Murchison Falls Tourism in the 1960s, 12-Boat Trips per day would be made up to the falls for Tourists.
Masindi was a boomtown in those days and a good time for Uganda’s oldest Hotel, the Masindi Hotel, since travelers across the continent and to Murchison Falls would stay there.
If Murchison Falls had been dammed in those days, the movie, “the African Queen” would have never been made here. Ernest Hemingway would not have crashed his plane since he would have never ventured had it not been for the Falls where his plane crashed, and he was stranded for two days. British Royalty and commoners alike would not have visited in the past, or the future without Murchison Falls as it is. Do not mess with real success.
NO DAM-Save Murchison Falls – it makes economic sense! If the South African Bonang Power and Energy Company is somehow allowed to proceed with this destructive proposal, the immediate result will a downturn in visitors to the park and Uganda, net result – a loss of Income for Uganda. The Ugandan Tourism sector, a prime contributor to the Ugandan economy, will suffer.
For years we have dealt with oil exploration, now oil extraction and refining. The original International Oil Companies respected the fragile environment and did its part to protect it. With new players in the field, one can not be so sure. A dam inside of Murchison Falls Park, creating a dam, would create an ecological nightmare. Not only would Tourism suffer but nature, the wildlife, the eco-system, and more.
Winston Churchill, who spent time in Murchison Falls in 1907, spoke of a Bridge, which later someone built and the remnants of it can be seen, but no dam.
No Dam-Save Murchison Falls – Rough Guides would have never picked Lake Murchison National Park as one of the Best Places to travel to. There as stated before, already is a Lake Murchison in Australia. The Number One visited Park in Uganda will become the least visited one. Get serious; you can not have your cake and eat it too. Economically, what is more profitable. Tourism is the answer. The Dam will remove a key component of Ugandan Tourism, Murchison Falls Park, and result in an overall loss of Tourism Revenue for Uganda.
Time to get Serious about Tourism in Uganda – We are a Tour Operator, we are not politicians nor are we energy experts.
We do know a bit about Tourism, and we love Uganda, promoting it above our tours. Visitors to Uganda tend to be eco-conscious. While Uganda may have all the right laws protecting the environment, those laws are not always enforced.
The use and manufacture of Plastic Bags continue, swamps are drained, forests are illegally and legally logged. Trees chopped down in favor of quick profits without thinking of long-term ecological consequences.
Costa Rica in Central America has restored its once lost forests. It has become a role model of what can be done. It might be prudent to send a few Ugandans there to see how it was done and replicate it here in Uganda.
Tourism is Sustainable represents clean – eco-friendly sustainable Income for Uganda: Tourism is like a garden; it has to tended and worked. One cannot just promote it. One has to deliver what one promises. If you promise the Pearl of Africa, you have to provide the pearl in all its luster. If you promise an Africa that is Gifted by Nature in Uganda, or Africa as you imagine it, only better, you have to deliver what you promise.
Tourism is a development that is non-destructive and sustainable if we deliver what we promise. We cannot take Visitors to Queen Elizabeth Park on a game drive on the Kasenyi Plains and say, “This is where the Lions used to be.” We have to deliver.
Uganda’s Tourism Potential is bright and filled with potential. Make tourism will be made a priority. It already is the Number One income earner. It will help pay for alternative sources of electricity produced with Solar or Wind generation.
NO DAM-Save Murchison Falls, the most potent Waterfall in the World-The Video will convince why there should be no Dam at Murchison Falls both now and in the Future
President Museveni knows that Tourism is good for Uganda:
Sign the Petition and then contact President Museveni below.
An email to State House. A short contact form message to President Museveni, an avid outdoorsman, will not be overlooked. Please keep a civil tone in your message. Most likely, President Museveni was unaware of the proposed Murchison Falls Dam. Thank you…
Click on the Below Link, and it will take you to a Contact Form provided by State House Uganda:
Contact State House – Uganda:
POSTAL ADDRESS: P. O. Box 25497, Kampala, Uganda