Uganda’s Prime minister and head of government business Mr. Amama Mbabazi on November 9th 2013 led a high powered delegation of eminent citizens to visit Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park where he sighted the much sought after tree climbing lions.
With the help of researchers who tracked and established the exact location of a seven member pride in the heart of the expansive savannah plains marked with fig trees, the prime minister and officials from the ministry of Tourism as well as district leaders marveled at the unique lions as they moved up and down the gentle sloping tree trunks with ease.
The prime minister remarked that this region which also boasts of the rare mountain gorillas in Bwindi, spectacular scenery and a diversity of mammals and birds was second to none in the world and ought to be marketed more aggressively both locally and internally.
He was received at the Ishasha-Katooke gate by the director of Tourism in the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities (MTWA) Ms Grace Mbabazi Aulo who represented the minister, Mr. Stephen Masaba who represented the UWA Executive Director and the in charge of Ishasha sector Mr. Echodu Edyawu among others.
Mr. Mbabazi later visited the sacred Banyabutumbi near Kihiihi town which is believed to be 450 years old and proceeded to open the offices of the Kinkiizi Tourism club.
He later officially launched the Kinkiizi Tourism Club by unveiling their strategic plan and the map .He also presided over the giving of awards to the tourism and conservation icons in the region including Mzee Gongo renowned for his role in gorilla habituation and conservation as well as Mr. Protazio Mukunyu who worked in conservation sector for 40 years. The club also rewarded President Yoweri Museveni in absentia with the Butumbi award for his love for cultural tourism, Amama Mbabazi for his passion for gorilla tourism and the Savannah hotel for its gorilla promotional efforts.
In his remarks during the launch of the tourism club a youth initiative led by one Mr. Abdu Muhiire, the prime minister and member of Parliament for Kinkiizi west constituency, Mr. Mbabazi urged the guests and the residents to discard the mentality that tourism is meant for foreigners which has to failure to realize the country’s full potential.
He urged everybody to begin appreciating and participating in all tourism activities in the all the regions of the country. He commended the Kinkiizi Tourism Club for the initiative to diversify the tourism products besides gorilla tracking and lion sighting which will improve visitor satisfaction.
The minister of Tourism Dr. Maria Mutagamba in her speech read by Ms Grace Aulo, commended the members of the founders of club for their efforts and called upon the rest of the youth in Kinkiizi to come up with support like provision of guiding services, catering services, home-stays, making and selling of handcrafts, establishing restaurants, establishing camping sites and functional hire services that will enable them to create employment thereby empowering the communities to contribute to economic transformation of our country as well as develop tourism in the region.
Mr. Masaba from Uganda Wildlife Authority outlined the attractions in the region and the challenges faced by the park management including poaching, encroachment and poisoning of the lions. He assured the prime minister and the guests that with the strengthened UWA ranger force, deployment of tourism police, partnership with UPDF and strict border controls, the security of our visitors, staff and investors and tourism infrastructure is assured.