By Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome, ETN
The visit of Pope Francis to Uganda for the 50th anniversary of the canonization of Uganda’s Martyrs was taken for granted, more so considering the past visits of previous Popes to “The Pearl of Africa,” and so it came as a shock to many when it was learned over the weekend that apparent and sudden scheduling problems would after all keep the Pope away when the Golden Jubilee celebrations were to be held.
There is wide speculation now over the real reasons, as such schedule problems are often a reason cited in public when a visit is really not thought opportune or felt necessary, a diplomatic way of saying “perhaps at a future date” or of course perhaps not at a future date.
Disappointment is now already spreading among not just the Catholics but also among the tourism fraternity as a Papal visit could have given promotional efforts to market Uganda a huge boost and given a seal of approval to the growing segment of religious pilgrimage tourism which in recent years has been growing considerably with more and more visitors flocking to the Namugongo Shrine for the annual Martyr’s Day celebration.
Time will tell if or when the Pope will visit Uganda.