What you need to know:
- Fifteen years later, it is apparent that the country, because of greed, lost probably its biggest opportunity to build infrastructure that would give this country a major push into the future.
In 2007, Queen Elizabeth II visited Uganda to attend her first ever Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm).
The government, private companies and individuals ventured into a number of projects in preparation to host more than 4,000 delegates from 54 countries.
The projects included renovation of hotels such as Serena hotel, Imperial Royale, Sheraton, Africana, and the Main Host Hotel, Speke Resort Munyonyo, which later came to be known as Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort.
A number of roads in Entebbe and Kampala were constructed and others rehabilitated to enable delegates move safely. For instance, Kampala-Entebbe road was beautified with traffic lights, grass, and trees.
We, however, visited some of the structures, 15 years later and many were unrecognisable.
In Katwe, on Entebbe Road, where the glamorous flora was planted, the word ‘CHOGM’ has barely survived the harsh weather conditions and human interference. The pastures have clearly been neglected.
Salaam Road, which the Queen used to connect to Munyonyo, is also not a reflection of the royal history. The potholed road has since become a black spot for accidents.
According to sources, the tree that Queen Elizabeth II planted in memory of her visit, dried up.
The Parliament’s famous Chogm gardens are also not as vibrant as they were 15 years ago.
Nonetheless, whereas a number of the Chogm icon developments have been lost, at least the hotels continue to serve their hospitality purpose. Also Bank of Uganda issued a Shs10,000 special currency note ahead of Chogm in November 2007, which caused excitement among Ugandans then.
It shall, however, not be forgotten that Parliament also opened an investigation into the use of the nearly Shs300 billion the country invested in hosting Chogm in Kampala. Then Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary, Ambassador James Mugume, in 2019 asked all officials in the various ministries to account for the funds they received.
Fifteen years later, it is apparent that the country, because of greed, lost probably its biggest opportunity to build infrastructure that would give this country a major push into the future.