23 April 2003

Uganda: Anti-Bujagali Power Dam Crusaders Warn of More Trouble

Kampala — Only days after the World Bank gave the Bujagali power project the go-ahead, environmental lobby groups have warned that the storm is far from over, reports Charles Wendo and Gerald Tenywa.

The National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) and the Save Bujagali Crusade on Monday said unless key concerns such as the unfair purchase agreement, absence of competitive bidding and environmental concerns were addressed, the project was doomed.

"No one should celebrate about this yet, AES or Government. If these issues are not addressed, we shall go for another long period before construction begins," said Frank Muramuzi, the executive director of NAPE.

On Monday, The New Vision reported that the World Bank had cleared the project after the American government dropped an investigation into corruption allegations lodged against AES, the American company planning to build a power dam at Bujagali.

But Muramuzi, warned that the deal signed between the Government and AES would make power far more expensive than the world average. He was backed by Oweyegha-Afunaduula of the Save Bujagali Crusade and Geoffrey Kamese of NAPE.

They accused hydro-electric power lobbyists of frustrating efforts to explore alternative sources of energy such as geo-thermal and solar power. They said Uganda could tap geothermal energy and produce 450 mega watts as opposed to the 200 mega watts from Bujagali.

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