The government of Uganda, through the tourism ministry has set apart sh10b to refurbish the defunct Ankole kingdom palace in a bid to turn it into a tourism site.
Located in Kamukuzi Division, Mbarara district, the palace was built in the 1930s. However, the palace lies in ruins while most of its land measuring about 12 acres has been encroached on, dilapidated structures are being occupied by Mbarara district lower staff.
Following its current state, the tourism ministry has contracted Block Technical Service Ltd to rebuild the Mugaba palace. Work has already started with the construction of the fence.
Godfrey Kiwanda, the state minister for tourism, wildlife and antiquities said that they got a directive from President Museveni to renovate the palace.
Work has been divided into three phases, beginning with building a parameter wall fencing, refurbishing the existing kingdom’s structures and putting new structures and paving.
The tourism state minister said the renovations will be finished in three years’ time.
“We are turning this palace into a centre of heritage and we hope its going to be one of the tourism products for Mbarara.
“Whatever we are doing, we want to depict the original art of the former palace as we are progressing to see Mbarara as a city, this is going to add beautification,” Kiwanda said.
He added that as government, they have taken over the palace and that after refurbishing, they are going to have guards from government.
Kiwanda also said that very soon, they will be launching a book which talks about Mbarara and Ankole subregion adding that they are to declare Mbarara as a tourism city soon.
“Ankole should not be a transit city it should be a city to come and stay, our plan is to declare Mbarara district a tourism city so that tourists can come and stay.
“The book will contain all the tourist attractions in Ankole and it will be put in all the accommodation area in this country, we want to market Mbarara as a tourism city.”