By Hillary Nsambu
THE long-awaited construction of the Mapeera House is set to start today in Kampala after 17 years of waiting. This follows the laying of a foundation stone by Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala yesterday during mass that took place at the site of the project on Kampala Road opposite the Constitutional Square.
Cardinal Wamala, the retired Archbishop of Kampala, was assisted at the function by his successor, Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, Kabale Bishop Emeritus Halem Imaana and several other priests.
The 13-storey house, which is the brain-child of the late Cardinal Emmanuel Nsubuga, will accommodate the Centenary Bank, a Catholic-founded finance institution.
It is built in memory of the Rev. Fr Simeon Lourdel commonly known as â€œMapeeraâ€, who was the first Catholic priest to set foot on Ugandan soil.
Roko Construction was contracted to build the twin-tower-structure to cost $14 (over sh24b).
During his homily, Wamala hailed Nsubuga beginning the project. He told the congregation that in 1990, a similar function was held at Plot 26 on Kampala Road under the leadership of Cardinal Nsubuga.
â€œUnfortunately its progress was stopped by his untimely death a year later. I am happy to note that the same company, Roko Construction, which even then had accepted to do the work, is being contracted.
â€œThey have been with us for decades and I have good reason to trust that they will do a good job.â€
Wamala also urged Centenary Bank to educate their clients on the benefits of saving their earnings and urged the bank to create a conducive business environment for its customers.
â€œThe people would like to borrow at favorable conditions so that they can benefit from their borrowing. However, they need to be informed and educated about how to profitably use the money they borrow,â€ Wamala said.
Archbishop Lwanga said was grateful that the project was finally taking off. â€œIt has been a long journey. A lot has happened, we have gone through many difficulties, but I thank the Almighty God that finally our project has started.â€
He said Mapeera House was another milestone in the history of the Catholic Church in Uganda. Present was the Deputy Chief Justice, Laetitia Mukasa-Kikonyogo, ministers, MPs and officials from the Buganda government.