Last Update 23:50
Saturday, 24 August 2019

Ugandan critics oppose Nile river power plant plan

Reuters , Tuesday 11 Jun 2019
Views: 1113
Views: 1113

A plan by South Africa's Bonang Power and Energy to develop a 360 megawatt (MW) power plant on Uganda's River Nile has met resistance from critics who say the project will destroy the popular tourist attraction of Murchison Falls.

Located on the Nile between the Ugandan lakes Kyoga and Albert, the Murchison Falls also lend their name to a 3,900 square km national park, one of Uganda's biggest, where visitors can view lions, hippos, elephants, buffalos and giraffes.

On July 7 Uganda's state-run energy sector regulator Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) published a notice indicating Bonang had applied for a permit for a feasibility study on a 360 megawatt (MW) power project on Murchison Falls.

The announcement has since stoked outrage from private tourism operators, nature enthusiasts and even the government's own wildlife protection agency.

ERA spokesman Julius Wandera told Reuters a definitive decision on the project had not been taken and a review of the application would take public criticism into consideration.

"It's just total madness that anybody would think of destroying such an iconic place," Amos Wekesa, a Ugandan tour operator and one of the critics championing a public campaign against the project told Reuters.

"It's just unacceptable to even start discussing the destruction of the most powerful water falls in Uganda for the sake of 360 MW."

The government of President Yoweri Museveni has increased efforts to expand the country's energy generating capacity to help fuel an industrialisation drive.

Earlier this year a 183 MW dam on the same river, built with a Chinese loan was commissioned. Another with 600 MW capacity, also China-financed, is due for commissioning later this year.

Authorities have also been courting private investors such as Bonang to help take up some of the projects so the government would not have to directly fund them, often requiring borrowing that is ballooning the country's public debt.

Founded in 2014 by South African entrepreneur, Ernest Moloi, Bonang specialises in renewable energy projects in Africa.

Bashir Hangi, a spokesman for state-run Uganda Wildlife Authority told Reuters the destruction of the waterfalls would take away the park's cachet and ruin its beauty.

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.