UGANDA (eTN) – A controversial letter in mid-August by the board of the Uganda Wildlife Authority to the Madhvani Group’s Marasa Limited – the hospitality arm of the diverse industrial, agricultural, and service concern in Uganda – canceling the exclusion zone around their lodges as per the current and entirely valid 30-year concession document, was thrown out by none other than the President of Uganda, when he publicly directed that the letter be trashed.
“This is not the way we do business in Africa; this is not the way we do business in Uganda,” he said, responding to the group’s request to intervene and “reverse the illegal action taken by the UWA board.”
The president went on to say that investors who came to the aid of Uganda during the hard years after the liberation war must never be told that they have served their purpose and can now be replaced, while also encouraging new investors to come to the country and invest in all sectors of the economy.
It is understood, as previously intimated here, that a vocal group of “also want to have the cake they did not bake” had influenced peddled members of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) board to arrive at the tilted, and potentially very expensive decision, which could have cost the wildlife body multi-millions of US dollars in compensation had Marasa not patiently waited for this opportunity and taken the matter to court immediately. Notable was the dismissed chairperson of UWA – he was sacked by court order last week for not being eligible and suitably qualified to hold the position – absent from the official lodge opening. The wildlife body was only represented by the present Acting Executive Director and several UWA staff based in Murchisons Falls National Park, including the park warden and his senior officers. At least the sacked chairman was spared blushes and further public humiliation, had he had to face his president who was clearly upset and angry over the reported shenanigans.
Said the president to the Madhvani directors in a biblical quote: “You have to forgive them because they do not know what they do” – a damning indictment towards those who tried to grab the wildlife authority and showing just how disgusted the President was with these recent developments.
The company had, in the past, been repeatedly accused by “those vocalists” to “monopolize” the park lodges if not the entire industry, a claim rubbished by facts alone considering the number of now available beds in and around the two parks where the group is actively involved (Queen Elizabeth and Murchisons Falls), leave alone the many other parks where they do not have a presence. Racial undertones were introduced with alarming regularity, considered by many to be an absolute disgrace for the country, but finally put to rest by a presidential directive. Overall result: A good day for the tourism industry in Uganda.