UGANDA (eTN) – Ahead in wisdom and intellectual capacity over his predecessor by miles, the new Minister for Tourism, Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, finally said in public what was an open secret in the corridors of the tourism ministry: “The museum will stay.”
The previous minister, notorious for a range of “shoot from the hip” decisions, mainly to do with the Uganda Wildlife Authority, which subsequently got messed up “real good,” according to a tourism stakeholder, had insisted on megalomaniac plans to build a Trade Center of 60 floors on the grounds of the National Museum, irrespective that the museum is a place of unique historical value for Uganda and for Ugandans.
Minister Otafire, then in tourism, insisted that those opposing the knocking down of the museum were opponents of progress but suffered a crushing defeat in court – as was the case with several of his decisions over the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) – when opponents of his plan obtained an injunction against government, prohibiting any tampering with the site and the building.
Tourism stakeholders breathed a sigh of relief when Otafire was moved to the Ministry of Justice, which left, however, the legal fraternity in stitches, and warmly welcomed the “gentleman Minister,” as another stakeholder put it to this correspondent, when Prof. Kamuntu, previously a Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism Trade and Industry was made a full cabinet minister holding the stand alone tourism portfolio.
“Our new minister is speaking on crucial issues like he was one of us,” said a regular source to this correspondent from within the safari operators, showing that his hard work during the first few months in office is beginning to pay off and earned him the respect of the tourism fraternity.
The assurance over the museum will now put another foul taste in the mouth of the industry behind, as other decisions on a new board of directors for UWA and the appointment of a new Executive Director are also being taken soon, according to a well-placed source within the ministry.