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Centenary monument to give way for Kampala Fly Over Project

Ongoing Government programs like expansion of sewer lines and roads, will affect Centenary Park (left). PHOTO KCCA MEDIA

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Centenary Park Monument in Kampala shall be relocated as Uganda National Roads Authority-UNRA undertakes construction of the Kampala Flyover Project.

The monument standing at the park opposite the Electoral Commission offices was designed by Makerere University lecturer, Sylvia Nabiteeko Katende to mark 100 years of service of Kampala City Council now Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA in 2000. The monument now appears on the 20,000 Uganda Shillings note.

Last year, the government embarked on a construction project of the two-phased Fly Over Project threatening the existence of the monument. As works for phase one, which starts from Clock Tower in the city center to Mukwano road nears completion, there have been concerns about the Centenary Monument that is sitting in the area to be affected by the project.

The UNRA Bridge and Structure Engineer, Lawrence Pariyo has called for calm, saying they will preserve the monument. He says that they are exploring ways how to lift the monument and relocate it to a nearby area where it shall still be accessible to the public. The second lot of the fly-over project starts from Kitgum House and stretches through the Electoral Commission and Centenary Park.

The Fly Over Project is halfway complete with the contractor Shimizu Konoike JV expecting to complete works by the end of 2022. The Centenary monument is the second monument affected by the fly Over project, the first one being the clock tower which was constructed in 1954 to commemorate the first visit of the Queen of England Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh.

The tower was removed and some parts of it were kept for preservation. Eng. Pariyo says that another tower shall be constructed near the Pan African Square also along Entebbe Road. The plan is to construct a new tower with a water fountain and sitting space for guests.

Some items like ladders that were in the old tower are to be assessed for their integrity and if possible used as a way to preserve part of the original material used to construct the tower.  The Commissioner for Museums and Monuments at the Ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities, Rose Mwanja says that they were brought on board about the effect the road construction would bring to the tower and agreed to have it relocated.

She says that looking at the plan, if the tower was left in its original position, it would be dwarfed and made inaccessible to the public. Mwanja also says that the new tower to be constructed shall bare information about its historical value such visitors are able to read and understand its importance.

Mwanja says that the Ministry is pro-development but is also cognizant of the need to preserve the history and culture of the country. Currently, the Ministry is working on the Museums and Monuments Bill to provide for the development, management, and maintenance of museums and monuments and for formalization, control, and protection of tangible and intangible heritage, and works of art collection among other objectives.

In a recent interview with URN, Fredrick Nsibambi, the Deputy Executive Director of the Cross-Cultural Foundation expressed dismay that Uganda is losing its historical and cultural objects because there is no proper regulation and implementation to preserve them.

To him, the bill is a good step but added that to effectively protect preserved heritage value sites and objects, there should be bi-laws enacted by local government and hence enforced by the same. KCCA is currently working on an ordinance to protect historical sites and monuments.

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