Golf in Ugandan national park?


Golf in Ugandan national park?
Sean Dudley

One of Uganda’s largest companies has been granted permission by the country’s president to develop a golf course in the country’s leading national park.

But the project is opposed by Ugandan environmental and wildlife conservation groups, who say it could hit the park’s biodiversity.

The Madhvani Group employs over 10,000 people in a variety of sectors in Uganda, and recently completed the renovation of the Chobe safari lodge in Murchison Falls National Park on the river Nile in the north of the country. Now, the group wants to build a golf course alongside the lodge, and, last week, was given the go-ahead by Ugandan president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

However, environmental groups in the East African country are lined up against the golf course project. “We shall do whatever it takes, including legal action. We'll block it. We'll get an injunction,” Frank Muramuzi of the National Association of Professional Environmentalists told Agence France-Presse. “This is a country that has laws. To do something like this, you need to do an environmental impact assessment. You need to carefully gazette the area. None of the has happened.”

Madhvani’s history in Uganda dates back to the early twentieth century; the group was expelled from the country by Idi Amin in the 1970s, but since his fall has re-established itself as one of East Africa’s largest businesses. The group’s renovation of the Chobe lodge cost it US$13 million, and added an extra 66 rooms to the lodge’s capacity.