By Fred Kiva
KAMPALA. Government is in the process of enacting a law on preservation and management of cultural heritage, Grace Aulo the Commissioner Tourism Development in the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities has revealed.
Aulo reveals that the law will enable the preservation of tangible heritage sites like museums, palaces and historical buildings among others, as government moves to promote cultural tourism.
“First of all we started with a policy (the Museums and Monuments Policy 2015), then we are drafting the bill to effect the policy,” she said, adding, “At the moment we have done the principles to develop the policy which will be approved by cabinet then we start consulting.”
She said the process will also involve revision of the 1967 Act to cater for the changing cultural dynamics.
“You know many issues have come on board, we have come up with several artifacts and sites which have been documented, so we want to have everything under this umbrella,” Aulo said. She was on Tuesday speaking at a half day seminar on rediscovering buildings of historic importance organized by the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU). The Seminar was held at National Theatre.
Daniel Kaweesi, the Programs Officer In charge Culture at the Uganda National Commission for UNESCO earlier took participants through a presentation on Global Cultural and Natural Heritage. He stressed need for government to support efforts towards cultural heritage preservation.
“Heritage is vital since it tells history and helps the present generation to understand their place in history and to better cope with constant changes in society,” he observed.
Emily Drani, the Executive Director Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda noted that weak legislation was detrimental to heritage preservation. She welcomed government efforts to enact a new law.
“ The weak laws are affecting preservation of our heritage, because there’s hardly anything being done in terms of awareness, so the public is not aware of the importance of the historical buildings,” she said adding that the existing laws are “not up to date, so the penalty for destroying a historical property is almost negligible.”
The Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda, with funding from the European Union is currently documenting historical properties in Kampala, Jinja and Entebbe in it’s effort to preserve both the tangible and intangible heritage
Some of the historical buildings being documented include, Bulange Mengo, Mengo Hospital, the National Theatre, Uganda Museum, Kiguli Mosque, Kabaka’s Lake, Entebezamugula among others in Jinja and Entebbe.