THE BUSOGA KINGDOM – ONE OF UGANDA’S TOURISM REGIONS
(Posted 26th January 2017)
Part Eight of Nine
River Nile in Jinja: Exploiting the gem
A number of studies have been made about the possibility of exploiting the Source of the Nile to boost tourism. The most recent was sponsored by UNDP and produced in 2013. But also there have been independent efforts by investment enthusiasts to make suggestions as to how this national natural resource can be exploited. I recall being part of a team that was led by the former Minister Hon. Dr. Maria Mutagamba to Jinja in 2015. This team comprised of a group of Chinese Tourism Development experts plus one from South African expert designer of adventure tourism destinations.
In all the studies and the discussions with these experts, the main sticking out point about the development of the Source of the Nile is the issue of land ownership. Apparently, as of now no one knows what constitutes the Source of the Nile. However, there seem to be a general consensus that development of the Source of the Nile must include both banks’ on Buikwe and Jinja side. But as I have mentioned both banks have had their fair share of political land bonanza which has seen most of the land at the Source and along the Nile acquired by private land title holders.
Now, the situation described above calls for a systematic and well thought through process if there is to be a breakthrough. The starting point in my view is the realization that this is national resource which is under the trusteeship of the Government of Uganda just like the other endowments in the country such as Lake Victoria, Mount Rwenzori, Mt. Elgon etc.. Therefore, it is not conceivable that the Central government can abdicate and just leave this national resource to be managed (mismanaged) by a local government. In the case of Mt. Rwenzori and the National Parks, government through its appropriate agencies manages those endowments but the local government is fully recognized through revenue sharing and other community compensation schemes. This means that local governments still play a key role as stakeholders in any undertaking in regard to that natural resource. We hope that soon there will be genuine engagement with all stakeholders in order to enable meaningful exploitation of this resource.
Uganda, a republic straddling the equator, has in more ancient times been ruled by both Kings and Paramount Chiefs, institutions restored by the government of President Yoweri Museveni in 1993/94 as cultural institutions after all traditional ruling structures were abolished by Milton Obote, twice dictator and twice overthrown by military coups.
The Busoga Kingdom is located in the East of Uganda, across the River Nile, which commences its long journey to the Mediterranean Sea in Jinja, known as both the Source of the Nile and the Adventure Capital of East Africa.
The Busoga Tourism Initiative has now released an initial nine short chapters on the history, culture and of course tourism attractions found in the kingdom and
with their explicit permission will all nine chapters be reproduced here in coming days.
The timing is befitting as between the 17th and 19th of February will the Uganda Tourism Board host the annual Pearl of Africa Travel Expo in Kampala and the attractions of the upper Nile valley and further into the Kingdom will be showcased there to nearly 100 hosted buyers and international travel media representatives and travel trade professionals from the entire East African region.