KAMPALA –The Minister for Energy and Mineral Development, Ruth Nankabirwa has lamented the lost opportunity for expansion and economic power – which former Prime Minister – the late Apollo Nsibambi had calculated through amending the Land Act.
Nsibambi and the Late Archbishop Livingson Mpalanyo Nkoyoyo had proposed plans on how Mengo would use its land to generate incomes if the law was amended.
Among the proposals were turning the palace at Mengo into a tourist facility – complete with hotels and an airstrip.
However, when a report was read in the Lukiiko in 2007 that Nkoyoyo had cautioned the then Buganda Premier – Emmanuel Sendawula on officials who were inciting Baganda against the Land Act amendments, hell broke loose.
At the time, Nsibambi donated to Ugx2m to Mengo as his personal contribution towards the development of Muteesa I University – which money was returned to him. He later donated the same amount to Church of Uganda owned Christian University.
Speaking at the first Archbishop Livingston Nkoyoyo Memorial Lecture at the Church of Uganda Martyrs Site at Kyaliwajjala, Wakiso on Thursday, Nankabirwa said Nkoyoyo’s ideas were a treasure and partnering with Prof Nsibambi presented a great opportunity for Buganda.
Nankabirwa, who represented President Yoweri Museveni hailed the developments taking place at the site – pledging government continued support, especially towards the tourism development plans.
The projects being undertaken after the Martyrs Museum include; a primary school, which is nearing completion, and an amphitheatre to be used during ceremonies and a church.
However, Nankabirwa said the planned church was too small and that it should be redesigned to cater for the growing Christian population and the growing visibility of the site generally.
She said that so far they have spent Ugx21b on the completed and on-going projects, with the amphitheatre alone expected to cost up to Ugx37b.
Bishop Jackson Matovu – the Archbishop Chairperson, said they expect the amphitheatre to house the main martyrs’ day celebration on June 3, this year; having completed the more complex museum, which he said had taken a lot of resources.
Dr Nkoyoyo, who died in 2018, was the brain child of the development of the site and most of the current on-going projects, especially the idea to turn the place into a tourist site.
Nankabirwa tasked the church, the Uganda Tourism Board and the government to find a way of developing the sites into a globally known religious tourism attractions – giving an example of India’s Taj Mahal and Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
In his recorded keynote address, local hospitality industry investor, Amos Wekesa, said if only Uganda increased the marketing budget for tourism, there would no reason why the country wouldn’t be strong in the global tourism industry.
NRM Vice Chairman – Mike Mukula used the opportunity to rally support for the incoming Martyrs’ Day in June, which is being organised by the dioceses in Eastern Uganda, especially in form of money and other donations.
He said Nkoyoyo’s idea of turning the place into a tourist site had helped a lot in ensuring that Christians, especially Anglicans recognise the importance of the site to their spiritual growth.
Archbishop Samuel Kaziimba-Mugalu described Nkoyoyo as first of all; someone who cherished love for all and did not discriminate in any way along religious lines – the reason people of different religions loved him.
He cited the example of the Send-A-Cow project where people were given heifers as a start-up capital and, against complaints from some Anglicans – the requirement for benefiting from the project did not include religion on any other discriminatory aspects.
Kaziimba said the Church so far done well in taking over the legacy of Nkoyoyo – urging all leaders to honour him by doing what he would have done in life.
Additional reporting by URN