Unresolved Issues on Bujagali

Saturday, September 15, 2001
A recent letter to World Bank from coalition of 50 NGOs.

C/O Box 29909,

Mr. Haran Sivan
Investment Officer & Team Leader IFC
18 18 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
Fax (202) 9744307

Karen Rasmussen
Principal Financial Analyst, World Bank
Fax (202) 473–5123.

Dear Sirs,

Re: Our concerns about the Bujagali Project, Uganda

We the undersigned represent a number of Ugandan NGOs and CBOs and would like to express our concerns to you about the Bujagali Project, which you are considering to finance.

ENGO–LOG is a coalition of over 50 Environmental NGOs and CBOs operating in Uganda which advocates for the sustainable use of the environment. We have the following concerns about the Bujagali Project.

Where as we agree that Uganda needs more power, it is true that Bujagali Project has been associated with a number of unresolved issues which include the following:

  1. That AES project was privileged over other potentially better projects due to pressure from Ugandan and United States governments. There is available press evidence.
  2. Unethical intimidation has been used to help guarantee local support.
  3. Placing / building 3 dams; Owen falls, Owen falls extension and Bujagali within a short stretch of the Nile is not only a security risk but also perpetuates uneven development between the North and the south of the country. The proposed Karuma dam is a viable alternative to Bujagali, but has not received a special political privilege that AES has received or Bujagali
  4. Contrary to internationally acceptable best practices, there was no competitive bidding in the selection of AES to build the dam.
  5. The details of the proposed resettlement of the local affected people by the project remains unclear.
  6. Bujagali falls dam is just one of a series of dams that the government is considering to erect on the Nile in Uganda. However, environmental impacts were never done for either Owen falls or the Owen extension. And the cumulative impacts of the proposed dams are unknown.
  7. The details of the governments’ energy export are still unclear. Will the Bujagali project benefit the majority of rural Ugandans who cannot afford modest standards of living?
  8. The EIA for Bujagali transmission lines is not yet out. And is the Bujagali project going to be financed before we discuss the EIA for the transmission lines?
  9. There is a need for a comprehensive management plan for the Nile river basin, since many projects are proposed. And we believe the Bujagali project should be re–valuated within a context of other options such as solar, sustainable fuel–wood use and small hydro projects.
  10. There is a need to widely involve NGOs and CBOs and other stakeholders. We request for meaningful participation and involvement of NGOs and CBOs, rather than imaginary participation that has been project standard so far.
  11. The Bujagali dam will cause irreversible damage to the natural beauty and cultural significance of the Bujagali falls.
  12. Jinja district has a number of characteristics that make it potentially great source of revenue for Uganda which include L. Victoria, and the stretch of R. Nile from Bujagali to Kalagala. The dam will deprive Jinja and all the people of Uganda of tourism revenue by submerging the falls and changing the landscape forever.

Hoping for your response, we remain yours faithfully,

Undersigned members of ENGO–LOG.


1. Ayebare Lawrence National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) 2. Musoke Godffrey Buteesa Cultural Group (BCG) 3. Mugagga Kalyango Self Help Youth Multipurpose Initiatives (SHYMPI) 4. Mulinde Mathew S.G. Self Help Youth Multipurpose Initiatives (SHYMPI) 5. Mugereka Noah Self Help Youth Multipurpose Initiatives (SHYMPI) 6. Seruma Nelson Community Health Concern (CHC) 7. Nabudde Grance Community Health Concern (CHC) 8. Kigongo Remigious Community Health Concern (CHC) 9. Deo Lubega Regional Representative Central Uganda Wildlife Society 10. Muganga Bukenya Janet Public Environment Concern 11. Nyakahuma Edward Makerere International Institute of Education, Development & Practical Skills (MIIEEDPS) 12. Kaziro Douglas Makerere International Institute of Education, Development & Practical Skills (MIIEEDPS) 13. Mugisa Patricia Youth, Environmentand Conflict Resolution Association 14. Obbo Beatrice National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) 15. Magunda Athumani Makerere International Institute of Education, Development & Practical Skills (MIIEEDPS) 16. Bashabomwe Geoffrey Nansama Environment Youth Group 17. Nansove Kamese Geoffrey Kabalega SSS 18. Kigongo Jacline Environment Protection Group 19. Byekwaso Stephen Uganda Polytechnic Kyambogo 20. Balinda Alfred Concerned Citizens 21. Mulidwa Joseph UEEF (Uganda Environment Education Foundation)