Ugandans have risen once again for conservation reasons. On June 9, Ugandans started an online “Save Murchison Falls” petition to President Museveni and concerned authorities over the proposed construction of a hydropower dam construction by the South African Firm.
The petition was started by the Operations Officer Nungi Safaris Uganda, Amos Murungi and it is targeting for 5,000 signatures against the proposed destruction of the Murchison Falls, one of the most spectacular falls on the River Nile. The campaign that has turned out to be successful had already attracted over 3,900 signatures in just a day. Looking at the site, more signatures are still pouring in.
The campaign also encourages people to share their pictures online while in the Murchison falls National Park as a way of exhibiting the beauty of the Murchison Falls. Among the photos that has surfaced is that of the late President Idi Amin Dada who used to spend his leisurely time to enjoy Uganda safaris in different national parks including Murchison Falls National Park.
Mr. Murungi says tourism is his life. “I love my country Uganda, I think it’s very beautiful and I have great belief in its natural richness.” He explained how unthinkable it is for the government of Uganda to permit such proposal which will definitely lead to the destruction of the thunderous falls.
“We as Environmentalists and Tourism lovers have decided to use all our resources and power to save this national park from destructions,” he said. Mr. Murungi believes tourism is the most sustainable industry which feeds the country’s economy yet the government has less effort, interest, investment and little prioritization toward the tourism sector.
“We are reaping big in the form of government revenue through taxes, GDP figures, Foreign Exchange, job creation,” he said.
Other Ugandans Have Added on their Voices
Ms. Lilly Ajarova, Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) Chief Executive Officer equated the proposal to “madness” saying there are options for the required development. Who in their right mind would want the destruction of Murchison Falls?” she noted. Ms. Ajarova noted that Murchison falls is an iconic feature that is spectacular and none like it elsewhere.
“The Murchison Falls is the major attraction to tourists visiting the Murchison Falls National Park where they experience; a boat trip to the bottom of the falls, a hike from the bottom to the top of the falls, the top of the falls most rewarding views,” she added. The UTB CEO regarded Murchison Falls with an eco-system that has both endemic and endangered species. She said that “if destroyed will not only affect the nation but the global community with species extinction, climatic change, among others.”
Mr. Jonathan Benaiah, the spokesperson for the Association of Ugandan Tours Operators (AUTO) has also written an open letter to the President of Uganda.
In his open letter to Mr. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Benaiah noted that if the petition is not honoured, “I and the many Ugandans with me will proceed with a peaceful demonstration in light of the same, dubbed ‘Save Murchison Falls, togikwatako (do not touch it).” “Why are we so much after short quick gains at the compromise of natural resources which other nations can only wish they had? Crazy people to say the least,” Benaiah said.
Mr. Amos Wekesa of the Great Lakes Safaris regarded this as “nonsense.” He said that “We want to destroy every forest, every swamp; every waterfall in our lifetime? Are we the last generation.”