NRM Caucus Quizzes Energy Minister Over Karuma Project

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In short
During the two-hour meeting, the legislators tasked Muloni to explain how the seven trillion shillings projects have been riddled with concerns over concrete cracks, lack of thermal studies, improper installation of water stops and abrupt irregularities on concrete surface at the two dam sites.

Energy Minister Irene Muloni faced a barrage of questions from several legislators over the irregularities in the Karuma and Isimba dam projects.

Muloni was the centre of debate during a National Resistance Movement (NRM) caucus meeting convened at the President's office on Monday.
 
During the two-hour meeting, the legislators tasked Muloni to explain how the seven trillion shillings projects have been riddled with concerns over concrete cracks, lack of thermal studies, improper installation of water stops and abrupt irregularities on concrete surface at the two dam sites. Experts say these could significantly compromise the structured integrity of the dam, powerhouse and intake structures.
 
According sources who attended the meeting, the MPs were bitter that the ministry had failed to take lead of the projects, in favour of the Chinese companies constructing the dams.
 
"She was reprimanded over the complacency of the ministry, especially on the Karuma project," an MP who declined to be named told URN.
 
Efforts by Muloni to explain that the issues raised, including concerns on poor design, shoddy construction works and non-compliance, were being handled, were shot down by the MPs.
 
"She pleaded with the MPs to support her, claiming that the ministry had already taken corrective measures, but her pleas were dismissed since she did not give commitment on what had come out of these members,"  another MP, who declined to be named, said.
 
The legislators agreed to back a nine-man select committee instituted by Parliament to probe the shoddy work, following a motion tabled by MPs Theodore Ssekikubo, Wilfred Niwagaba, Raphael Magyezi, Barnabas Tinkasimire, Richard Oseku and William Nzoghu among others. The motion calls for a probe into the two projects.
 
The MPs also want independent consultants to be included on the committee to give expert advice.
 
During the same meeting, some MPs also questioned why the Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa, who chaired the meeting, was not in the know of some issues raised by members.
 
They included the motion to probe the Karuma and Isimba dam projects, as well as the controversial Constitution Amendment Bill, spearheaded by Nakifuma County MP, Robert Kafeero Ssekitoleeko.
 
"The MPs want such matters discussed first in the caucus before being presented to Parliament," the source said.

 

About the author

Olive Eyotaru
Olive Eyotaru is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Eyotaru has been a URN staff member since February 2015.

Eyotaru started practising journalism while still studying at Uganda Christian University. She was a reporter with Ultimate Media Consult Ltd between 2005 and 2007.

In 2009, Eyotaru joined Monitor Publications Limited, under KFM Radio as a parliamentary and business reporter. Consequently, Eyotaru started writing for the Daily Monitor newspaper until January 2015, when she moved to URN.

She is interested in reporting about politics, health, human rights, business and sports.