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Wednesday,December 02,2020 19:31 PM

How ready are we for Pope Francis?

By Vision Reporter

Added 3rd November 2015 06:47 PM

Pope Francis is coming this month and many institutions are working around the clock to give him a dignified reception.

How ready are we for Pope Francis?

Employees of Vision Group celebrate after reaching Namugongo. Photo by Johnson Were

Pope Francis is coming this month and many institutions are working around the clock to give him a dignified reception.

Pope Francis is coming this month and many institutions are working around the clock to give him a dignified reception.

New Vision will be publishing updates on how far the responsible organs have gone

UNRA

The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), has assured Ugandans that work on the key roads to be used by the Pope and other guests are on course.

While touring a section of Kireka-Seeta–Namugongo road last Saturday, the director of operations at UNRA, Justin Ongom, said work is expected to be complete by November 7.

Pope Francis is expected in the country on November 27.


“Major works are almost complete. The contractors are working on walkaways, bus stops, improving access roads and drainage channels,” Ongom says.

She says 95% of the road construction works are finished. Ongom explains that traffic lights will be installed, including road marks. He says a few days to the Pope’s visit, the roads will be swept and washed by the contractors to maintain cleanliness.

“We have increased supervision for the project every weekend to ensure the contractors beat the deadline,” Ongom says.

The 7.2km Seeta-Namugongo road is currently being tarmacked. However, after the Pope’s visit, it will be upgraded into a class one tarmac as part of the Kampala ring road from Seeta-Kasangati to Nsangi on Masaka Road.

The director for road maintenance at UNRA, Eng. Joseph Otim, urged the two contractors; Sterling Constructions and Abu baker  Technical Services to continue being responsive in the ongoing final touches on all the roads.

He urged motorists to avoid packing and driving on the newly constructed walkways as they are designed for pedestrians.

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Thousands turned up for Mbarara walk. Photo by Edwin Ram


UTB

Sofia Ali, the senior marketing officer of Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), says the Government allocated the some money, which they are using on faith-based tourism.

“With the key signature product being the Uganda Martyrs, we are putting up proper signage (posts) identifying the trail of the martyrs right from Entebbe, Kisubi to Seguku,” she says.

Ali explains that the tourism board is also distributing promotional DVDs through the Catholic Church to pilgrims with the help of foreign embassies, Kenya and Tanzania tourism boards.

“We are going to put up LCD screens in and around Namugongo mainly to decongest the place and to enable people who will be far away to follow the mass,” she says.

KCCA

Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) executive director Jennifer Musisi, says the city is ready and set to receive Pope Francis.

While inspecting areas where the Pope is expected to visit, Musisi explained that KCCA contractors were working on several roads.

“We are on schedule and expecting to finish before the Pope arrives,” she said. The Government funded KCCA to a tune of sh15b to rehabilitate roads which the Pope will use. Musisi inspected Rubaga Road towards the cathedral where the Pope will meet the clergy.

There is also Chwa Road at the Papal Nuncio’s resident, where the Pope is expected to reside as well as the road to Munyonyo Shrine, where the Pope is expected to meet with catechists.

Chwa II Road has been redesigned with grass, flowers and a public park, which will also be used as parking space for Our Lady of Africa, Mbuya Parish.

In July, many residents were evicted from Mbuya behind Our Lady of Africa Parish to pave way for rehabilitation works. Most of them owned shops, bars and makeshift structures along the road in Mbuya. KCCA is beautifying the road which leads to the Pope’s embassy.

Musisi says the road to Munyonyo Shrine will be ready by this week. The Shrine rector, Fr. Dr. Marion Golab, said the construction work is on schedule.

“The shrine can now accommodate 15,000-20,000 people, but only 1,500 people will be allowed to enter,” he says.

Along Ggaba road towards the Munyonyo Shrine, all tenants and traders operating businesses along the road reserves were forced to remove all their kioks. Shop owners were told to paint and pave the front of their shops.

Musisi says about 500 solar lights will be installed on all city roads.

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Children walked from Vienna College to Namugongo. Photo by Nicholas Kajoba


Namugongo

The residents of Namugongo are getting accustomed to new measures set up by the Police and Vatican security teams.
The teams have for the last two weeks been prowling around the area as part of measures to beef up security ahead of the Pope’s visit.

Access to all sites is restricted as renovation works progress amid tight security.

Armed Police officers and plain-clothes security teams are a common sight in the neighbourhood.

Eldad Musani, a retail shop owner, says the security teams have been randomly interviewing the residents for personal details.

“I was asked if we (family) expect any visitors soon,” he says. Musani reveals that security teams have also asked  residents to submit their names

and those of the r dependents.

Musani was, however, told not to fear since it was a normal security procedure. He hopes the exercise will help eliminate criminals, who have been operating from the area.

The Police’s counter-terrorism unit is in charge of monitoring security in the area. The Kampala east regional Police commander, Siraje Bakaleke, has met with local security officers, vendors, bodaboda riders and taxi operators.

Police mobile communication and surveillance vans fitted with long range visual cameras, are stationed outside the Catholic shrine as security officers keenly monitor the place.

Bakaleke said there will be instant swoops in the areas of Nakawa, Banda, Kireka, Bweyogerere to Seeta. Other localities include Ntinda- Kigowa and Kiwatule-Najjera- Buwate-Kira town council. Reported by Abou Kisige, Claire Namara Juliet Waiswa and Simon Masaba

Reported by Abou Kisige, Claire Namara Juliet Waiswa and Simon Masaba

How ready are we for Pope Francis?

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