Historic Ujiji Port takes shape

THE construction of the Ujiji Port on Lake Tanganyika in Kigoma Region has reached 64 per cent, with it’s completion expected to boost trade between the historic town and neighbouring areas.

According to Lake Tanganyika Ports Manager, Mr Edward Mabula, the project which is executed at the cost of  7,963,468,108.11/-, is of economic and historic significance to Kigoma residents and to the country at large.

The project is lot 2 of the 32.5bn/- project to develop Kigoma-based ports; the port of Kigoma, Kibirizi and Ujiji.

While Kigoma and Kibirizi serve both domestic and international markets in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi and Zambia, Ujiji specially serves domestic market, linking producers and traders in coastal towns along Lake Tanganyika which runs in three regions of Kigoma, Katavi and Rukwa.

“The port is significant to producers, especially farmers and traders in Ujiji and other villages along Lake Tanganyika; it is also an important terminal for local travellers,” Mr Mabula said.

The construction of the port which kicked off in 2019, is taking shape whereby key infrastructure including passengers lounge, cargo shed, guard houses and vehicles parking lot have been completed.

“Currently the contractor is continuing with the construction of a 134-meter jet and the work is at 28 per cent,” said Mr Mabula. It involves the construction of fenders, mooring dolphins and installation of navigational aids.

Mr Mabula said the construction of the Ujiji port also means to maintain the area’s historical importance.

The history shows that Ujiji town is the place where Richard Burton and John Speke first reached the shore of Lake Tanganyika in 1858.  It is also the site of the famous meeting on October 28, 1871 when Henry Stanley found Dr David Livingstone and reputedly uttered the famous words “Dr Livingstone, I presume?”

Livingstone, whom many thought dead as no news had been heard of him for several years and who had only arrived back in Ujiji the day before, wrote “When my spirits were at their lowest ebb, the good Samaritan was close at hand, for one morning.”

A monument known as the “Dr Livingstone Memorial” was erected in Ujiji to commemorate the meeting. There is also a modest museum and a former slave route near the Ujiji market.

In 1878, the London Missionary Society established their first missionary post on the shore of Lake Tanganyika at Ujiji.

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