By Max Patrick Ocaido
For the last 5years, Hotel Africana has dominated the contract of hosting the Annual National Prayer Breakfast.
This event that has been annually held since 1991 brings together people from all faiths and political parties, a high profile representative from all branches of government, members of the diplomatic corps, the business community, national and international guests, and the media; for fellowship, prayer and encouragement as a family. President Yoweri Museveni has consistently attended the event.
Tycoon BMK (Bulaimu Muwanga Kibirige) owned Africana Hotel has been the successful hosts of this annual event and indeed they have not been rivaled for this contract. However, for the first time in 5years Hotel Africana has been dropped from hosting the 21st National Prayer Breakfast that took place today (Tuesday) at the Pearl of Africa Hotel in Nakasero.
Parliamentary procurement records show that Parliament spends over Shs100m in hosting and hiring venue for the annual prayers usually organized by a committee chaired by state minister for Finance David Bahati.
Sources have intimated to Kampala Post that Hotel Africana started falling out of favour due to their ‘deteriorating’ services that only climaxed in 2017 during the 19th National Prayer Breakfast when Museveni complained of bad ventilation of the venue-Nile Hall.
Museveni’s public speeches are usually long and characterized by endless humour that leaves many in stitches. But during the 2017 prayer breakfast, Museveni addressed the gathering in less than 15minutes and spent 5minutes disgusted about the heat inside the hall.
Museveni is quoted verbatim saying;
“Recently I was at a function where the organizers first made sure that they kept all fresh air out and then locked us in, we were sweating like nothing. And when I asked them why the room was hot, they said the air conditioner was not working. I was like then why don’t you open the windows? So they opened the windows and we could breathe again. So that is the same thing that is happening here[Africana].
Even if we are praying in this prayer breakfast, it would be good to be breathing. You either turn on the air conditioners or you open the windows. I can now see people struggling to breathe. When I went outside to help myself, it was much better there. So I think some people are missing the word of God because of this heat. Either you open the windows completely so that we enjoy the air conditioner of God or if you want to rely on air conditioner then do it efficiently, not just leaving us here to sweat and not concentrate on the word of God,” Museveni said before he ordered his aides to open up all the windows.
“Open them completely we are dying, what is wrong with you? We should be here thinking about God and not heat.” Indeed, guests were struggling to fan themselves with pieces of paper due to excessive heat in the room.
It is believed that bad ventilation is one of the reasons why organizers of the National Prayer Breakfast opted for Pearl of Africa Hotel which is more opulent, fresh and cool. The emergence of luxury Pearl of Africa Hotel has without doubt given Hotel Africana a bloody nose.