What remains of 2007 Queen’s visit to Uganda?
In 2007, Queen Elizabeth II visited Uganda to take part in her first-ever meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government (Chogm).
The government, private companies and individuals have ventured into a number of projects, preparing to host more than 4,000 delegates from 54 countries.
The projects included the renovation of hotels such as the Serena Hotel, Imperial Royale, Sheraton, Africana, and the main host hotel, Speke Resort Munyonyo, which later became known as the Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort.
A number of roads were built in Entebbe and Kampala, while others were rehabilitated so that delegates could move safely. For example, the Kampala-Entebbe road was decorated with traffic lights, grass and trees.
Naijium however, he visited some buildings, 15 years later, and many of them were unrecognizable.
In Katwe, on Entebbe Road, where the glamorous flora was planted, the word “CHOGM” barely survived the harsh weather conditions and human intervention. Pastures were clearly abandoned.
Salam Road, which the Queen used to connect with Munyonyo, is also not a reflection of royal history. Since then, the bumpy road has become a black spot for accidents.
According to sources, the tree that Queen Elizabeth II planted in memory of her visit dried up.
The famous gardens of the Chogma Parliament are also not as bright as they were 15 years ago.
However, while a number of developments in the Chogma icon have been lost, at least the hotels continue to serve their purpose of hospitality. The Bank of Uganda also issued a special shs10,000 notes ahead of 10,000 ahead of Chogm in November 2007, which caused a stir among Ugandans at the time.
However, it should not be forgotten that parliament has also launched an investigation into the use of nearly shs300 billion that the country has invested in hosting Chogm in Kampala. The then permanent secretary of foreign affairs, Ambassador James Mugume, in 2019 asked all officials in various ministries to take into account the funds they received.
Fifteen years later, it is obvious that the country, due to greed, has lost perhaps the greatest opportunity to build the infrastructure that would give this country a great impetus to the future.