“Don’t say that. When I heard in whispers that the majestic falls are to go away I was in tears. But why? That will be a tragedy..."
KAMPALA - Celebrated American Hollywood celebrity Koshie Mills says it will be a tragedy for Uganda if Murchison falls are destroyed to construct a hydropower dam along River Nile in the Murchison falls national park area.
She made the remarks after an eight-day visit to Uganda where she visited Murchison Falls National Park and Kidepo National Parks.
During a press conference held in Kampala on Sunday, Mills was asked about her thoughts on Government's plan to construct a dam at Uhuru Falls.
Uhuru was formed after a split of River Nile in162 at Murchison Falls. This was after the El Nino rains of 1962 that caused massive flooding in many parts of the country.
Conservationists have condemned the move saying the destruction of the falls will affect the tourism sector.
"Don't say that. When I heard in whispers that the majestic falls are to go away I was in tears. But why? That will be a tragedy. Africa needs to preserve its heritage and conserve it because that is what we need to offer to the world. The falls shouldn't be touched," Mills said.
Recently cabinet gave the South African energy company Bonang Power and Energy (Pty) limited the green light to undertake feasibility studies at Murchison Falls and other activities leading to the development of a 360MW power dam.
The magnificent Murchison falls that descends through a 45m wall through an 8m wide gorge hence giving it a very scenic look and a thunderous roar of the waters before it continues with its course on the Victoria Nile would be no more.
Mills describes Uganda as a heartwarming and overwhelming place.
"I'm so excited to have found the Pearl of Africa. The eight days have come to an end so fast," she said.
Mills is in Uganda under the Back to the Source Tours initiative by the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) that aims at targeting Afro-Americans in North America.
"I'm so proud of Uganda for starting this initiative; it is timely and very great. I'm already screaming to everyone about Uganda. And my son text me, after seeing my pictures that Uganda is very majestic," Mills said.
"I was so thrilled by the beauty of this country. I just wonder why Hollywood has not come here to shoot films instead of faking these Savanna safaris in the studio. This is the kind of issue I will recommend to Hollywood."
She revealed that African Americans are hungry to see anything that comes from Africa and it would be important for the continent to offer them the best out of it.
She visited Karamoja where she interacted with the Karamojong community who left her amazed.
According to UTBs marketing manager Claire Mugabi, Uganda is targeting four million visitors by 2020 and one of the things to spur this is by coming up with Back to the Source initiative.
"We are targeting the North American market, German-speaking countries and the UK as our core as well as emerging markets like Japan," Mugabi said.
She noted that Uganda will host other celebrities from North America starting December 1 to January 6 under the back to the roots initiative. According to the Uganda National Bureau of Statistics, Uganda received 1.8m tourists in 2018, up from 1.4m in 2017.
Uganda obtained $1.4b in 2017 through tourism revenue and the country is now convinced that Hollywood celebrities could play a very key role in promoting Uganda as a tourist destination.