Tooro resorts speak on racism, segregation of black Ugandans

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Kyaninga Lodge

The debate about a reported apartheid situation in Tooro sub region is still on-going on social media with Ugandans expressing mixed reactions.

It was Margaret Muhanga, the MP for Burahya County in Kabarole district who on Monday tweeted saying some resorts in her constituency deny black people access on the basis that they scare white guests.

She said three White-owned resorts [unnamed] in her constituency do not allow blacks in their premises especially during the peak season because whites argue that blacks stare at them which scares them.

Muhanga cited a situation on December 26 when her auntie and a relative were blocked from accessing one of the resorts.

edge.ug talked to MP Muhanga at length and she still maintained racist incidents have been happening in Tooro hospitality places only that people never reported them.

“I am very angry. My auntie was blocked but whites who came after her were allowed to enter. I don’t know what exactly they are doing in there that they won’t allow residents to go in,” she said.

Muhanga said when one goes to other places, there are always spots for residents and others for foreigners but no one is allowed services.

“Can you go to UK and start a restaurant for Africans only? So many white people are coming here and even building. We don’t stop them.”

Muhanga leaning against one of her cars, a Mercedes Benz

Makindye mayor Dr Ian Clarke is one of the whites building houses in Fort Portal.

Muhanga said what shocked her is the fact that the said resorts employ Ugandans [blacks] to serve customers yet they only allow in white people.

While Muhanga was sensitive about naming the particular resorts, social media enthusiasts dug up names that became a subject of debate.

Kyaninga Lodges

Set against the stunning backdrop of Lake Kyaninga and the Rwenzori Mountains beyond, Kyaninga Lodge has nine exclusive cottages made from hand carved logs, superb dining, and a wealth of adventures await.

The menu is based on classical European cuisine and tweaked to make use of local ingredients, many of which are handpicked from Kyaninga Lodge’s own kitchen garden or the neighbouring markets.

edge.ug talked to Steve Williams the proprietor of Kyaninga Lodges who vehemently denied the accusation.

“No, no. That did not happen at our lodge. We accept all guests of all colour,” Steve told edge.ug on Tuesday.

He even went the extra mile to explain how he is married to a black woman, Asha Williams who comes from Busoga in eastern Uganda.

Kyaninga Lodge

“I have no problem with black people. My wife is also black. Then how can I block guests just because of their skin colour?”

Steve said he had even reached out to Fort Portal Municipality Alex Ruhunda when social media debates heated up, pointing to his establishment.

“Mr Ruhunda told me to ignore the accusations,” Steve said, adding that even during the said period, they had black guests. “Even using that word apartheid. Eeeh! That is too much!

His wife Asha Williams also said: “The lodge is owned by my husband and I’m Ugandan. How is it racist if you’re told it’s fully booked? I think this lady needs to take a seat back.”

She added: “When the lodge is fully booked just like any other hotel, of course they cannot let you in. And I’m glad she mentioned it was the peak season.”

Ndali Lodge

Ndali Lodge located in Kibale forest also came up in social media discussions.

The guest house is located on the road from Fort Portal to the chimp walks at Kibale Forest National Park.

edge.ug reached out to the owner of the lodge a Mr Obrey who also denied the accusations.

Ndali Lodge

“Everyone was allowed in. Actually during the Christmas period, we would allow guests to drive in and park. Then I would personally talk to them in case we were fully booked,” Obrey told edge.ug on Tuesday.

When asked about this particular incident, Obrey said that did not happen at his lodge.

“We didn’t turn away anyone. Those women went somewhere else not my lodge.”

Kyaninga Royal Cottages

When the two resorts denied responsibility, we contacted the MP herself who did not pick up because she was at a public function.

However, she called us back on Wednesday morning as a follow up. Muhanga asked us not to cause alarm by throwing names in the public forum because she wanted the matter handled by security.

“I have been receiving phone calls from people who have been discriminated against in these places. So many people are angry about this.”

She went on: “You know there are those I saw trying to defend such acts. We cannot allow this to go on. All Ugandans deserve to be served equally without prejudice or discrimination.”

During the discussion, the name Kyaninga came up again. This prompted us to contact Steve of Kyaninga Lodges again.

“No. Like I told you yesterday, that is not us. Oooh, wait a minute. That must be our neighbours. There is a resort using our name. Kyaninga Royal Cottages. It must be them,” Steve explained.

Kyaninga Royal Cottage with a restaurant serving local and international dishes, is situated at the edge of Kyaninga volcanic lake and 5 kilometres from Fort Portal town.

It is a 25-minute drive to Queen Elizabeth national park and Rwenzori Mountains.

edge.ug talked to the Manager of Kyaninga Royal Cottages who denied experiencing such an incident anywhere during Christmas time.

Kyaninga Royal Cottage

“No my friend. For us, we allow everyone in. We don’t even have a spot where to stage a roadblock so we can turn away people. I am busy looking for customers and I turn them away?” said the manager who refused to give his full names or those of the proprietor of the establishment.

The manager further said they were even allowing in children because of the hunger for new customers.

“Incidentally, all our guests were blacks. Ugandans from Jinja. It was first filled by Ugandans alone. Kenyans came later but we didn’t have any situation involving those people.”

“You know what…it is actually my neighbour Kyaninga Lodge that blocked people from entering. Theirs is a high-end luxury lounge normally occupied by white people.”

He went on: “They [Kyaninga Lodge] blocked people from accessing their resort from Christmas time up to early January 2019. If that incident happened, well am not speaking for them, but it must there.”

As we later discovered, Kyaninga Royal Cottages Limited filed an application against Kyaninga Lodge Limited in court for infringement of its trademark and passing off its goodwill and reputation, cyber-squatting and typo squatting of its domain, unfairly profiting from its reputation/unjust enrichment.

The matter was settled in Kampala on 20th day of September 2018 by High Court judge Justice David Wangutusi. It ended in favour of the lodge.

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