Tour operators infiltrated during Murchison falls protest, start many, but only two reach parliament

  • Aug 23, 2019
  • Nile Post

A protests by tour operators against the anticipated give away of Murchison Falls for the construction of a power plant, turned cold after a one by one of the protesters stealthily broke away from the group.

The group under their umbrella body the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) were to march to parliament with placards and deliver a petition to the speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga.

They printed T-shirts and Placards and gathered themselves to start the march. However, before they could start moving, one by one of the members started breaking off without giving a reason.

The first group that walked out on the protests were members attached to National Forest Authority, who took off and dumped protest items without ceremony.

The AUTO Vice President, Benedict Ntale confirmed the happenings.

“At the perceived darkest hour of our fight to save the mighty Murchison Falls, we have been abandoned by the vast majority of the stakeholders, some at the scene! Representatives from one particular entity have removed our T-shirts thrown them at us and off to their comfort they’ve left,” he said.

Members on condition of anonymity claim that the group could have been infiltrated by forces against the protest and those pro-Murchison falls give away.

“We believe they have been compromised, someone or some people must have called them with threats or with an offer to abandon the struggle, this is very unfortunate indeed, that certain people give away a fight that will benefit even future generations if won,” a member told Nile Post on condition of anonymity.

In the end, the remaining handful of AUTO members marched to parliament but were intercepted by police officers who confiscated their placards and material.

Tour operators hold demo over proposed hydropower project on Murchison Falls

They were asked to disperse, with only the AUTO chairperson and his deputy allowed to proceed to meet the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga and handed over their petition.

Kadaga promised to respond to the petition by Monday.

The demonstration comes at a time when there were reports that the government had abandoned the plan to construct a hydropower project on the Murchison Falls.

However, according to AUTO chairperson, Everest Kayondo all this is intended to hoodwink the public of on what is happening on the ground.

“Our efforts to petition various Government offices as well as our objection to the Electricity Regulatory Authority. Until now, there is no formal reply to the same.”

The tour operators also accused the government of doing its maneuvers behind the public’s back in regards to the hydropower project along the Murchison Falls.

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