Officials of the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) have come under fire from several Ugandans who are faulting them for not only embarrassing President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni but also the entire country during the Dubai Trade Expo, where they failed to display many of the locally manufactured products and innovations.
Trouble for the UTB officials started after they failed to set up a proper exhibition booth with satisfactorily representative products that are manufactured in Uganda. By the time President Museveni reached the stall with other delegates, the only products that were on display were Lato Milk and Splash Juice.
Many Ugandans who saw pictures coming in on social media from Dubai portraying President Museveni showing Arabian investors Lato Milk and Splash Juice as the only products made in Uganda were enraged, especially because there were other products that were in stock but not exhibited.
More still is that there were more government officials that traveled to Dubai than locally made products to be exhibited, yet investors were more interested in seeing products than politicians and technocrats at the trade expo.
However, as if that was not enough, a few hours after President Museveni had visited the Ugandan booth with other investors from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), UTB officials, perhaps after having realized the debacle, decided to save face by adding some products onto the stall, which included Kayonza Tea.
But the move sparked off more rage from concerned patriotic Ugandans, who are up to now wondering why the UTB officials had to wait for the President to first visit the stall before they could add more locally manufactured products.
Actually, one of the concerned Ugandans who spoke to this website on condition of anonymity had this to say; “This is very embarrassing. These UTB guys are a real joke! They update the Pavilion with other Ugandan products after the President has visited and even left!”
Another Ugandan, a legislator who was at the Dubai Expo narrated his experience in Dubai as thus; “ I traveled to Dubai for the Expo with a team of fellow Members of Parliament. By the time we reached the Expo with a few other Ugandans, the Ugandan booth was empty, with no guides to welcome visitors. Actually, there was no receptionist at the booth so MP Robert Ndugwa Migadde volunteered to work as a receptionist.”
He added that; “There were no products on display save for a picture of a child, some drums, bags of Coffee, and a few others.”
He noted that visitors at the Ugandan booth had to invite themselves in, conduct the tours themselves and later see themselves out, because there were absolutely no guides at all, except a TV screen showing videos about Uganda, with emphasis on the tourism industry.
It should be noted that President Museveni last week joined dozens of world leaders in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the 2020 Dubai Trade Expo. The Expo that will run up to 31st March 2022 was officially opened on 1st October 2021 in Dubai.
He was on Saturday afternoon received at Abudhabi International Airport by Sheikh Shakhboot Nahyan Al-Nahyan, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of UAE.
President Museveni was later on Sunday hosted by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, with whom he discussed prospects of UAE Arabian moguls investing in Uganda.