Mugumu airport project seemingly a puzzle 18 years since conception

By Lake Zone Watch writer

A plan to build an airport at Mugumu town in Serengeti district in Mara region is reported to have hit a snag 18 years after the project was conceived.

Available reports show that the project traces its origin in 2005 when an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and initial preparations were carried out under the sponsorship of the Grumeti company investor.

The reports show that the American investor spent 1.1bn/- as payment of compensation to people who were asked to vacate the project area, which included the relocation of Burunga Primary School.

According to the reports, the aim of the project was to turn Mugumu town into a tourist hub.

The reports also say construction of the project would have taken two-and-a-half years (30 months) before being handed over to the Serengeti District Council for administrative purposes.

Asked for comment, Serengeti District Council Chairman, Ayub Makuruma, denied the existence of any such agreement between his council and the said investor.

“It’s like this, there’s no agreement; what Grumeti did was facilitation. Even the 1.1bn/- the investor spent was to show good intention,” said Makuruma, who is also the Busawe ward councillor under the ruling party CCM.

He said the Serengeti District Council is currently working on possible collaboration with prospective investors to undertake the airport construction project.

In recent years, Mugumu business community formed a WhatsApp group to support construction of the airport through fuel donation for the project to take off after its long delay, but, so far, no single cent has been donated by the group.

“Although we promised to contribute fuel, after seeing the major sponsors had pulled out of the project, we also did the same,” Paul Magoiga Mrimi, the administrator of the WhatsApp group told Lake Zone Watch recently.

“All the important permits are in place; and if this airport was built, it would have tremendously changed the status of Mugumu town,”Mrimi who is a famous trader in Mugumu town noted.

It is believed that the project would have generated employment opportunities for thousands of young men and women in Serengeti district and Mara region as a whole.

The project was planned to have all the necessary facilities to meet the needs of international travellers.

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