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Tourism Ministry fastracks Uganda Martyrs shrines redevelopment plan

FILE PHOTO: Uganda Martyrs shrine

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | As Uganda Martyrs continue attracting thousands of Christians from all over the globe, the Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Ministry is also fast-tracking the plans of redeveloping the shrines and the neighboring areas.

In 2015, the catholic and Anglican churches embarked on the process of redeveloping the martyr’s shrines.  The Catholics renovated the Martyrs Lake as their Anglican counterparts embarked on giving the Uganda Martyrs museum a facelift.

Now, the Tourism Ministry is developing a master plan to upgrade the shrines and infrastructure in the neighboring areas so as to promote faith based tourism and increase on its earnings from the current Shilling 10 trillion to Shillings 17 trillion by 2020.

Vivian Lyazi, the Assistant Commissioner in Charge of Tourism, says they are currently making feasibility studies to establish the scope of the work and financial implications among other things to be included in the main master plan for the shrines.

The proposal seeks among other items to redesign and construct all roads leading to the shrines so as to reduce on the inconvenience pilgrims go through more so during the annual Martyrs day celebrations held on June 3rd.

Lyazi observes that the ministry plans to buy off some residents close to the shrines. He however, says the total sum of money needed for the compensation is yet to be established since the valuation is still on.

In the same development, Lyazi says much as most of the development plans have been focusing on the Catholic and Anglican shrines, the Ministry has taken a special consideration for  the site of the Muslim martyrs and wants to develop detailed plans of upgrading it to international standards.

Al Hajj Sulaiman Musana, the coordinator of the Muslim Martyrs Committee has welcomed the government proposal, saying they came up with a concept of developing the site some years ago after being promised funds by government but nothing came through.

“There were plans for construction a Mosque (Masjid Noor Namugongo martyrs), a primary School, library, guest house and a museum. We handed over the plans to government. We are happy to hear that they haven’t yet given up on the issue,” Musana told Uganda Radio Network on Monday.

Lyazi further says the Ministry intends to redevelop the shrines so that they attract tourist all year round. He says they have already come up with tourism packages, which they think will be suitable for tourists.

But Rev. Vincent Lubega, the Rector Catholic Uganda Martyrs shrines, says although they are not against the redevelopment of the area, the Ministry must be cautious while coining concepts for tourisms keeping in mind the shrines belong to religious institutions who consider values ahead of anything else.

James Lutalo, the Director of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, says they are yet to complete the design stage and are currently looking for the funders to finance their plans.

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