Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda-CCFU has asked the government to expedite the enactment of the Museum and Monuments Bill 2022.
The bill was passed by Parliament on September 5th, 2022 and subsequently forwarded to the President for assenting. However, he returned it to Parliament with suggestions that sites such as Kilembe Mines in Kasese and Ocerei Gold Mines in Nakapiripirit District be deleted from the list. He argued that the sites are active state-owned enterprises, licensed under the Mining Act, 2003 with exploration licenses and mining leases granted by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
The bill is aimed at developing, managing, and maintaining museums and monuments and formalizing, controlling, and protecting tangible and intangible heritage and works of art collection.
The Executive Director of the CCFU Barbra Babwetera Mutambi says that the government needs to move fast on the law for the protection of heritage sites that are at risk of being destroyed. She cited buildings such as Watoto Church and Emil Pasha Hotel whose existence is already threatened by plans to redevelop the land by the owners.
Babwetera made the appeal on Thursday while announcing the 5th National Heritage Awards which were funded in 2013.
The nominations of individuals, families, and Institutions to be awarded for preserving Uganda’s cultural heritage can be done by any right-thinking member of the public through the organization’s website, CCFU offices, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, and at the Uganda Museum.
The cultural heritage could include historical sites, historical buildings, indigenous knowledge, practice, skill, or tradition.
Babwetera said that the awards held every two years shall be hosted at the historical home of Ham Mukasa on 24th May 2023 as part of the commemoration of World Culture Day.
Hajarah Nalubega, a cultural officer from the Ministry of Gender says that Uganda’s cultural heritage is threatened at different levels due to factors such as globalization and modernization. She made reference to the backcloth which was steadily disappearing from the local scene yet it is being appreciated by foreigners at the risk of owning it.
She said the government has worked with agencies such as UNESCO to protect heritage items like the backcloth such that their origin isn’t lost. Nalubega adds that the government through the Ministry of Gender is working on the 16 recognized cultural institutions to promote and protect Uganda’s cultural heritage.
Jackline Nyiracyiza Besigye, the Ag. Commissioner for Museums and Monuments at the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities said that the Ministry is making efforts to ensure that Uganda’s Cultural Heritage is not only protected but promoted. She said the Ministry has already worked on the suggestions of the President in the Bill and submitted it to Parliament for further consideration.
Nyiracyiza added that while the government is making efforts through legislation, other stakeholders need to actively participate in the promotion and protection of Uganda’s Cultural heritage.