Govt taken to court over proposed demolition of National Theatre
Kampala, Uganda | GODFREY SSALI | Civil Society Organizations have dragged government and the Trustees of the Uganda National Cultural Centre to the High Court in Kampala, challenging the proposed demolition of the National Theatre and Nommo Gallery.
National Cultural Centre plan to construct a modern twin tower of 28 to 36 floors to accommodate shops offices and a five star hotel.
Through Rwakafuuzi and Company Advocates, Angella Asiimwe the Legal Officer for Centre for Constitutional Governance together with Muyamba Ellady the Executive Director for Historic Resources Conservation Initiative, say the actions of the respondents are contrary to the statutory use of the trust property.
They argue that the National Theatre and Nommo Gallery were not put in place for economic purposes, but to be accommodation for theatre and cultural activities, and to develop cultural, artistic, academic, philanthropic and educational purposes.
They now want an injunction permanently restraining Government from razing down the National Theatre and Nommo Gallery, because no stake holder has been consulted nor has government carried out any cultural heritage impact assessment to provide what the impact of the demolition would be.
Their Petition in form of a suit was been filed Monday morning and received by the court’s deputy registrar Sarah Langa, who however informed the plaintiffs’ lawyer that since Judicial officers are on strike, the matter cannot be allocated to a judge for consideration.
According to the proposed plan, National Theatre is set to be transformed into a mega complex with a multi-million shopping mall, arcades, modern restaurants, bars, cinemas, state of the art auditoriums and a six underground car parking.
The National Theater has been in a sorry state for over six decades despite its prime location next to the parliament building. The building is among 51 buildings and sites in Kampala, which were constructed before 1969.
In June, Tenants at the iconic 60-year-old piano-shaped building that houses the National Theatre situated at Dewinton road in the heart of Kampala were ordered to vacate the premises to pave way for the construction of a 36-storey modern tower.