Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The government has been asked to gazette land around historical sites as a strategy for preserving and protecting Uganda’s cultural heritage.
The move known as heritage zoning, allows governments to protect the historical and cultural integrity of a geographical area. It is now being mooted by Cultural and Heritage conservationists in Kampala as part of the ongoing efforts to collect ideas for the Historical Monuments Ordinance.
The Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) is drafting the ordinance to preserve and protect historical monuments and objects of archaeology and traditional interests. The ordinance is also intended to protect and preserve historical buildings in Kampala for the promotion of both cultural and tourism purposes.
Barbra Babetweera, the executive director of the Cross-Cultural Foundation Uganda, a Non-Government Organisation advocating for the preservation of such sites, says that the destruction of historical sites indicates a disconnection from the past and has contributed to a loss of indigenous knowledge.
Babetweera, says that heritage zoning will leave these places with visibility that gives them value and sanctity. She was speaking at a stakeholders’ consultative meeting held last evening between Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA and civil society organisations.
Babetweera says that the law would be the first step towards the protection of historical sites because it provides a basis for their preservation. She also calls for incentives for such places, as another way of ensuring their safety;
James Galabuzi Mukasa, a member of the Ham Mukasa family who surrendered one of their family properties; the Keweerimidde house built in 1902, to the public as a historical site, says that zoning will give meaning to Heritage and tourism because what can not be seen can’t be protected or even preserved.
The magnificent house with colonial architecture copied from the British still has its original furniture, utensils and portraits that were preserved by the generations who have lived in the house. Mukasa explains that since most properties are privately owned, the law should provide for a Memorandum of Understanding between the owners and the authority, stipulating each party’s role in the preservation work of these sites;
Victoria Kayaga Kigunddu, the Executive Director of Buganda Heritage and Tourism Board mentioned that in the pursuit of protecting Uganda’s heritage, also observes a need for restrictions at some level.
Hakim Kizza on behalf of the council, committed that heritage zoning if enshrined in the law will be a very big step towards the protection of the historical and once legislated must be followed and abided to.