‘Environmentalists not to blame for power crisis’

Kakaire A. Kirunda
The Monitor (Kampala)
October 27, 2004

Mbale: The government should stop blaming environmentalists for the current power crisis in the country, Oweyagah Afunaadula, a lecturer at the Makerere university has said.

“It does not make sense to blame us and link the current problems to dams that are not already in place. The dams that are in place are useless and should be blamed on the energy sector. This is all because of the failures in the energy sector,” Afunaadula said in an interview on Friday.

Afunaadula is the deputy coordinator of the Save Bujagali Crusade (SBC) and secretary to the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE).

“The craze for foreign technical consultants by the government for the Owen Falls Extension project is to blame for the now emerging flaws showing that both Nalubaale and Kiira dams cannot work at full capacity at any one time,” he said.

A Canadian firm, Acres International, were the consultants for the Owen Falls Extension project. “This business of hooking us on to consultancies that do not have our country’s interests at heart is a disservice to Uganda,” he said.

He said the $1 million Lesotho bribery scandal in which Acres was involved in should act as an eye opener that such firms had selfish interests and were not [committed to] developing the Third World. The firm has since been blacklisted by the World Bank.

“We have home-nurtured consultants who have the country’s interests at heart. It is these ones who should be used. If we do that we may find solutions to some of our local needs,” Afunaadula said.

He said the government should not be rigid and that past mistakes should not be referred to.

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