Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has clarified on a picture, which went viral on social media, claiming the tourism body was promoting colonial and dehumanising tendencies in the National Parks.
The picture (above) which shows local African porters carrying white men on a stretcher has similarities with pictures showing how European colonial masters used to force Africans to carry them on well built stretchers for long distances, during colonial times.
While addressing Journalists at Uganda Media Centre on Wednesday, UWA Director for Conservation John Makombo said the said picture was taken while transporting disabled tourists to Gorilla sanctuary in Bwindi impenetrable forest.
“There is nothing colonial in this picture. It’s part of our duty to ensure we offer maximum hospitality and protection of both the aged and disabled tourists, including those who may become tired of walking in the national parks”, he said.
Makombo further cautioned Ugandans against misinterpreting hospitality and customer care given to tourists to mean dehumanising Africans.
“This is one way in which we can increase number of tourists to Uganda because Ugandans are generally friendly people”, he added.
During the joint media centre briefing, Minister for Tourism Ephraim Kamuntu implored journalists to promote Uganda; as a safe and friendly country, to attract more tourists.
He attracted laughter from journalists when he said: “As fourth estate of the Arms of Government, you should show
the world the good part of Uganda and leave out the bad part to attract tourists”
Uganda Tourism Board executive director Steven Asiimwe said the tourism sector is working with relevant stakeholders to promote sports activities as a way of attracting tourists.