Speke Resort Munyonyo set for NAM, G-77+China summits as delegates start jetting in

All the key players in organizing the two mega summits, the Non-Aligned Movement and the G-77+China taking place at Speke Resort convention center in Kampala have made assurances that they are ready and set to receive delegates. 

Workers at where the main venue at Speke Resort Convention Centre Munyonyo Thursday and Friday were making final touches on the $40m building, a joint venture between Meera Investments headed by Sudhir Ruparelia and the Uganda Development Corporation on behalf of the Government of Uganda. It is on a 50 percent deal.

The NAM summit officially kicks off Monday, January 15, 2024, and delegates from 120 countries plus  observers  are expected to start jetting on in advance on Saturday and Sunday. 

 The NAM summit will be immediately followed by the G77 summit. 

Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia, the Ruparelia Group Chairman and co-founder of the mega project spent the biggest part of Thursday morning and afternoon seated at the site and was seen busy attending to visitors and clients in front of the center, which has been lit with glittering expensive lamps at the main entrance and inside the building, which he is handing over to UDC today Saturday.

The main auditorium has a capacity of between 3,800 – 4,400 delegates. It has a multipurpose hall, 12 high-end conference and breakaway meeting rooms and a floating restaurant that accommodates  more than 900 people.  

Along the Munyonyo-Kajjansi Expressway, workers were planting trees flowers and putting up extra solar lamps to light up the place.

Meanwhile, the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) said the roadworks right from Entebbe Airport to Munyonyo and parts of Kampala city has been almost completed ahead of the summit. 

The UNRA spoke person, Allan Ssempebwa said that works were at 93 percent, with the roads already complete and open to the public. He said the airport road up to Kajjansi had been beautified with flowers since it is the main route.

He said the Busabala junction works  that were ongoing had been suspended and the area cleaned to minimize interference with the movement of delegates by pedestrians crossing. 

On the Kampala Entebbe  Expressway lighting has been installed and people can use it day and night.

Speaking about the Kampala flyover, Ssempebwa said the road that will also be used by delegates had been opened to traffic including the underground tunnel, which will be lit 24 hours. 

He said the walkways had been widened for pedestrians, who Ssempebwa said were facing risks from motorists. They have also installed three pedestrian bridges.

He said the flyover project has also eliminated flooding in the place by putting in strong culverts. 

Many people were excited to use the suspended walkways apart from Specioza Nakate, a hawker from Nabisaalu zone in Makindye who stood for some period of time fearing to cross the road due to speeding vehicles and boda bodas.

She said she cannot use the walkways because she has pressure and has a fear-factor  looking down.

She was however helped by Erizon Bahemuka, a traffic warden who flagged of motorists and cyclists to let her pass. Bahemuka says he guides people on how to cross but some do not want to ask for assistance.

Several others walked from their places to use the walkways and take selfies. Asha Nakyazze from Katwe said she wanted to shoot videos on her phone to share with her friends.

Several other youths said this was a development they never dreamed would happen in their life time. 

At Entebbe international airport, the director airports and aviation security, Civil Aviation Authority, Eng. Ayub Sooma said all the works had been completed and the facility was ready to start receiving delegates.

He said Heads of State or Presidents with private charters under the Very Very Important Persons (VVIP) will be received at the VIP wing, where the government protocols will handle them, either by performing some ceremonies and later escort them to their hotels or straight to the venue.

He explained that the other Heads of State who will use commercial flights will be received at the runway and escorted to the VIP wing.

The rest of the delegates, he explained, will be received, and picked up by the various protocols. He however warned the public traveling on the days to arrive at the airport at least three hours prior to the flights to avoid inconvenience. 

At Kololo Independence Grounds, vehicles that will transport the guests have been assembled, serviced, and washed. These included vehicles withdrawn from government officials.

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