lunedì 5 marzo 2012

News about the campaign to save the Uganda Museum


 

Activists in renewed drive to save museum


In a last minute effort to save Uganda's only national museum, a group of civil society organizations, members of the academia and other stakeholders have renewed the campaign to stop the intended demolition of the Uganda Museum.
The museum faces demolition to pave way for construction of a 60-storey building dubbed the East African Trade Center. Some reports say demolition could be as close as two months away. On Monday, retired Supreme Court judge Prof George Wilson Kanyeihamba, vice chancellor of the International University of East Africa (IUEA), Prof Eric Edroma and maverick Rubaga South MP, John Ken Lukyamuzi, joined the drive to save the museum.
In the renewed campaign, activists plan demonstrations to force government to stop what they describe as "a barbaric demolition" of the museum. They launched car stickers to raise awareness and rally Ugandans to oppose the move. The Save Uganda National Museum campaign is spearheaded by Historic Resources Conservation Initiatives (HRCI), Cross-Cultural Foundation Uganda (CCFU), Jenga Afrika and Historic Buildings Conservation Trust and Heritage.
Launching the stickers on Monday at Ibamba restaurant next to the museum on Kira road in Kampala, Prof Kanyeihamba lambasted government for continuing to harbour intentions of demolishing the museum even when Ugandans have objected to the move.
"How do you demolish our history? It is only primitive and barbaric people that demolish their history" he said.
Kanyeihamba advised government to build the trade centre near Lugogo and spare the museum.
"We have information that government has already awarded two companies tenders to construct [the trade centre]", said Ellady Muyambi, HRCI's executive director.
He said there is suspicion that someone might be trying to grab the 11.5 acre property on which the museum sits. "If there is no foul play, why is the land title missing?" he wondered.
The 2010 Auditor General's report revealed that the museum's land title was missing from the land registry. The Uganda Museum was established to conserve, promote and interpret Ugandaís cultural and natural heritage through research, collections, documentation and imparting knowledge for today and the future. Founded in 1908, the museum is arguably East Africa's oldest. It was first built at Fort Lugard in Old Kampala, where it stayed until 1942 when it was transferred to Makerere University. It was shifted from there to its current site in 1954.
On January 14 last year, the tourism, trade and industry ministry placed an advert in the New Vision for interested bidders to enter into contract with the Government to finance, design and build a proposed 60-storey building on plot 5 Kira road, where the current museum is situated. Construction of the 60-storey skyscraper, whose developer remains anonymous, is planned to take 10 years. It will house the ministry of tourism and two floors will be reserved for the museum, according to government.
In April last year, civil society organizations filed a civil suit in the High Court to stop government's plan to demolish the museum. Although court did not grant the petitioners a temporary injunction, the case is scheduled for hearing on April 18 this year. Several initiatives are already ongoing, including campaigns on social media networks like face book to raise awareness about the matter.

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Extract from: The Observer

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