PHOTOS: Namugongo Gets New Face Ahead of Papal Visit

The martyr's shrine (Basilica) has been given facelift. (Photos: Paul Ampurire C/R)

The Government of Uganda through the Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UNCC&I) is set to sign a memorandum of understanding with the government of United Arab Emirates (UAE) through the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce which is aimed at boosting investment in the country and increase its exports.

This will take place during the two-day UAE- Uganda Trade and Investment conference at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala commencing Monday 30th. The conference will be presided over by the country’s Prime Minister, recipe Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda.

The State Minister for Higher Education and Technology Prof. Tickodri Tagboa told media at the Uganda Investments Authority in Kampala that a delegation of 35 members from UAE, stuff of which 25 are in the private sector, dosage looking for business opportunities in Uganda will visit the country from 29th November to 1st December.

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“The business delegates are engaged in various sectors including trade in fast moving consumer goods, agriculture, building solar networks, construction and infrastructure, printing and packaging, trade in industrial kitchen equipment, chemicals and lubricants as well as general manufacturing,” Prof. Tickodri noted.

He added that the conference is a direct result of another one in Dubai earlier this month attended by a powered delegation from Uganda led by the Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda.

“While in Uganda, the UAE delegation will meet their Ugandan counterparts in already arranged business to business meetings. About 100 Ugandan companies have been invited to discuss business with them.”

Tickodri noted that the collaboration is expected to create easier channels through which trade and investment will increase and boost exportation of several products to UAE.

“This is seen as an opportunity to increase exportation to UAE. There is a ready market for several agricultural commodities from Uganda such as Meet, Mutton, Fruits and Vegetables, flowers, coffee and tea in UAE,” said, The State Minister of Finance for Privatization, Hon. Aston Kajara.

Kajara added that since Uganda is the leading African country in Coffee growing, and UAE good at technology and processing, the partnership with UAE will help reduce exportation of raw coffee to processed one.

The Independent Electoral Commission has come out to clarify on the circumstances under which Democratic Party President Norbert Mao was disqualified from nomination for the Gulu Municipality MP seat; dismissing his subsequent allegations of being sidelined by the Commission.

Mao was last Wednesday blocked from the nomination exercise in his home municipality after he failed to present his national identity card as part of the prerequisites. His name was also missing on the voter’s register.

The EC Chairman in a Friday press statement expressed displeasure over Mao’s subsequent ‘false commentaries’ against the commission, drug in which he claimed to have missed the entire enrollment exercise due to illness.

Mr Kiggundu clarified that the process of issuance of the new identity cards and updating the new voters’ register was given ample time and therefore Mao could not have inadvertently missed it.

“The Commission conducted an update of the National Voters’ Register, treat which involved fresh registration of Ugandan citizens of 18 years and above, who had missed out on the registration conducted for the purpose of issuance of a National Identity Card,” said Kiggundu.

“We extensively publicized the exercise to ensure that Ugandan citizens register to participate in the 2016 General Elections. During the update exercise, the Commission clarified that all persons who registered for purposes of elections prior to the 2010/2011 General Elections but had not registered during the Enrolment exercise for purposes of issuance with a National Identification Card, were required to register (afresh) for purposes of voting during the 2016 General Elections.”

During Wednesday’s nomination exercise, Norbert Mao carried his old voter’s card, as proof that he is indeed a registered voter.

Kigundu however reminded him that the Commission last April announced that effective 31st March 2015, the 2011 National Voters’ Register (as updated) had been retired and degazetted, and accordingly, it would not be used for purposes of elections and/or referenda in 2016 and beyond.

Sensing the huddle prior to the nomination, Hon. Mao had written to the EC admitting that he missed on the National ID registration exercise and requested consideration and inclusion on the National Voters’ Register.

The EC however informed him in response that his request was time barred, since it was raised after conclusion of the General Update whose cut-off date was 11th May 2015.

With only hours until Pope Francis arrives in Uganda, stuff final works of beautifying the Namugongo Catholic martyrs shrine are underway with the army and ROKO construction, capsule the contractor endeavoring to beat the deadline.

The green belts, page painting, and the pavilion roofs still lack the final layer. The Managing Director ROKO Construction, Mark Koehler told Chimpreports that the basement toilets for pavilion B and C are incomplete and that the final layer for the roofing arrived this evening.

The pavilion (island) in the middle of the lake still being developed.

Mr. Koehler however mentioned that the site is as good as functional and concentration is now on the pavilion (island) and the area around the lake which is very essential for Saturday’s mass. The main celebrant (Pope Francis) will sit in the formerly grass thatched pavilion (island) which has since been upgraded.

“We were given less time that we demanded from our client and worse still the persistent rains have disrupted our works. I can’t guarantee that we’ll have finished by Saturday. The roofs for the pavilions, it’s highly likely to lick when it rains since we haven’t put the outer layer.”

The lake area with the pavilion (island) where the Pope will sit

The bridge that connects the island shrine to the main ground has also been improved and is now more appealing.

Meanwhile, the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) could be seen working tirelessly on the walk ways at the site surrounding the pool and planting the grass belts.

The UPDF doing the final work on the walkways

The sitting area for the masses has also been improved and gazetted. Various toilets have been constructed to ease convenience of the thousands and a water reservoir also erected. This and the additional water taps established will go a long way in improving sanitation levels which have in the past been of concern.

The refurbished green belts where the masses will seat.

The MD ROKO Construction told Chimpreports that newly established 3 pavilions have a sitting capacity of 8,400 people.

The Bishop of Lira, Bp. Joseph Fauzelli told us that pilgrims have already begun arriving at the shrine but they will be allowed access on Friday.

Workers cleaning walkways

Pope Francis is expected to arrive in Uganda on Friday at 4:50 pm and will on Saturday visit the Anglican shrine at Namugongo before leading mass at the catholic shrine at 9:00 am.


One of the many newly constructed toilets in the compound


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