MBARARA. The prime minister of the defunct Ankole Kingdom, Mr William Katatumba, has urged government to fulfill its promise of rehabilitating the king’s palace, saying the delay has left the structure on the verge of collapse.
“The President in 2000 promised to renovate it, but it never happened. Prince (John) Barigye (RIP) gave him a proposal for its renovation, he liked it and said he would do something about it. We have been waiting; this is actually the third time the President is promising to renovate it. Its appearance disgraces government,” Mr Katatumba told Daily Monitor last Thursday.
The huge dilapidated building is located in Kamukuzi Division, Mbarara District. Its environs have been turned into gardens and a stone quarry. Part of the land around it has been encroached on or leased. The site has been under the custodianship of Mbarara District local government.
Mr Katatumba said Ankole cultural heritage is a major tourist attraction in the region and yet the potential remains unexploited.
Ms Maria Mutagamba, the state minister for Tourism, told MPs on the committee of Trade and Tourism recently that the President wants the palace renovated.
A total of Shs5 billion is needed to accomplish the work that will be executed in phases, according to the minister. The renovation is expected to start next year and will be turned into a tourist site.
In 1993, President Museveni restored the kingdoms apart from Ankore. Since 1993, kingdom elders have appealed to government to speed up the process of re-organising the kingdom and return its assets in vain. Some kingdom loyalists last week unveiled a new prince, Umar Asiimwe, who has since been denounced by others.