President Museveni has hailed the joint team of engineers who helped clear the floating island that last week blocked Nalubaale dam, causing a nationwide power blackout.
Concerted efforts from NEMA, UPDF, National Fisheries Research Institute(NaFIRRI), UNRA, MAAIF and Ministry of Works saw the floating island the invaded the dam cleared whereas one that was a few meters away was moved from its risk location to the bay near Jinja pier.
The president hailed the team for using local solutions to help tackle the problem.
“Our Engineers have done a great job in tackling this problem. Another Island was moving and it was intercepted on the way. I thank the UPDF, all ministries and departments involved,”Museveni said.
He said that due to the heavy rains, the water levels increased and necessitated the island to move away and ended up at Jinja but warned that encroachers on lake shores and river banks are also to blame.
“We have had a lot of rains for a long time and the lake has gone up, today Lake Victoria at Entebbe was 13.21 meters, this is the second-highest level since May 1964.”
He added, “People who cultivate on the shores of the lake and on the banks of the rivers, please get off those places because you are causing problems. The floating island that collided with Owen falls dam had yams & cassava. This is not floating vegetation it’s an island.”
The president directed NEMA to ensure encroachers on lake shores and rive banks are evicted before it is too late.
Museveni noted that Uganda had been able to partially deal with the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, desert locusts and the floating island using local solutions, saying this was a sign of progress.
“Before the Covid-19, we had an evasion of locusts from Kenya and our UPDF teams will spray them from the ground. So we have killed them and they have since not damaged anything. I congratulate the UPDF.”
“We should pay our scientists very well because they help us go through a lot. I am tired of begging. Like the case of Jinja, we did not take Shakespeare to read for the vegetation to go away. It was the engineers who helped,” he noted.