By Fred Kiva
KAMPALA. Professor Ephraim Kamuntu, the Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities says the Uganda Museum will not be demolished.
The Minister was speaking during an event to unveil a plaque, as the Uganda Museum and a couple of other properties of historical importance in Kampala were being recognized by the European Union, through the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU).
Some years back, government had a protracted court battle with conservation organizations, who petitioned court protesting plans to demolish both National Theatre and the Uganda Museum to pave way for construction of skyscrapers.
However, speaking at the Uganda Museum on Tuesday, Professor Kamuntu observed that even in the face of modernity, such buildings of historical importance like the Uganda Museum should be maintained.
“National Museum and National Theatre cannot be abolished,” he emphasized, adding, “We must find a way of maintaining these buildings, because they are our past. The future has no chance if the present generation doesn’t preserve the past.”
Speaking at the same event, European Union (EU) Ambassador to Uganda Attillio Pacifici reaffirmed EU’s continued support in preservation of the country’s heritage.
“We hope the project will not only raise awareness on the value of historical buildings, but will also generate opportunities to create new jobs and develop innovative business, especially for the young people,” he said.
The European Union funded the CCFU Project on documentation and identification of properties with historical importance in the urban centers of Jinja, Entebbe and Kampala. The project also coincided with the EU celebration of the 2018 Year of Cultural Heritage.
Plaques were unveiled at Mengo Primary School, Bulange, National Museum and the Mayor’s Parlour at KCCA Headquarters.
“This 2018 has been the occasion to share with our Ugandan friends those values, as well as the European experience and know how in protection and valorization of cultural heritage,” Pacifici said pledging the EU’s readiness to “do more than we are doing.” He said Uganda has rich cultural and natural diversity that should be preserved.
Emily Drani, the Executive Director Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda said unveiling of the plaques marked the beginning of official recognition of the properties for their historical importance.
“While cities the world over are under immense pressure to modernize, at the heart of these cities lies a sense of identity and belonging, that is cherished by various communities,” Drani said stressing need for protection of such properties.
Other unveiling ceremonies will follow in Entebbe on November 22 and Jinja on November 27.