Gov’t to establish museums in cities and municipalities

MBARARA-Parliament has proposed a new clause in the Museums and Monument Bill, 2022 that will see cities and municipalities in Uganda build museums for tourist attraction.

This was revealed by Mbarara City Woman MP, Rita Atukwasa while attending council meeting on Wednesday.

According to Atukwasa, the new bill among others seeks to protect cultural and natural heritage resources and the environment, strengthen and provide a set-up of institutional structure for effective management of the museums and monuments.

It is also meant to prohibit illicit trafficking of protected objects, and promote local content of cultural and natural heritage to enhance revenue collection to the cities and municipalities.

“Finally we are working on monuments and a museum right now in the Committee of Tourism, Trade and Industry and that’s what a city looks like,” she said, urging political leaders in Mbarara city to secure land for the construction of the museum.

“As council they should consider finding land where we can have the Mbarara city museum. If we equip it, tourists will start making stopovers here,” she said.

Atukwasa added that Mbarara being a transit route to neighbouring countries of Rwanda, Tanzania, and DR Congo will be able to attract tourists when the museum is built, which said would boost the city’s revenue.

Additionally, MP Atukwasa urged the city council to partner with the private sector to have museums as an alternative source of local revenue derived from both local and international tourists.

Atukwasa’s comments come at a time when Mbarara city is in preparations to host Ankole Festival slated for September 22-24, 2022. Revelers will take part in sporting events like’ boat drive, canoeing, mountain climbing as well as craft exhibitions and touring among others.

The event mainly being run by university students, is expected to unlock the tourism potential of Mbarara city to the world, especially through eco-tourism

The speaker of Mbarara city council, Bonny Tashobya pledged to construct accessible roads to the tourism sites.

“We shall work on standard roads to the sites through our comprehensive plans as council to boost tourism,” said Tashobya.

MP Atukwasa also urged leaders to allocate women that deal in crafts some kiosks in the new central market, saying that a city that does not display its art cannot be said to be complete in as far as tourism concerned.

“We are a city of Ankole, and a city of the people so please let the women, men and the youth that engage in crafts benefit from the central market,” she said.

Atukwasa further asked people in Mbarara to consider tree planting to control pollution within the city.

New bill to repeal old one

The new Museums and Monument Bill, 2022 comes to repeal The Historical and Monument Act of 1967, Cap 46, which has limited focus on the preservation and protection of historical monuments, making it obsolete in terms of providing for a much wider cultural and natural heritage, tangible and intangible heritage. “This included works of art collections which define contemporary Museums and Monuments artefacts.”

It has been noted that whereas the country boasts of a rich and diverse cultural heritage of approximately 650 designated cultural heritage sites and monuments, only 56 sites have been relatively preserved and managed at a national level.

“The ancient rock engravings and paintings of Dolwe Island, Nyero, Mukongoro, Kakoro, Komuge and Kapir; Archaeological earthworks sites at Bigo Bya Mugenyi, Ntusi, Bwogero, and Kibiro Salt garden are under threat through graffiti, quarrying, and deforestation.”

The proponents of the new bill say the threats of destruction through graffiti, quarrying and deforestation impact negatively on the unique artworks and rock art paintings in the country.

They say the threats may further lead to the complete disappearance of intrinsic values technological skills and civilization of mankind, which may have survived for millennia.

“The absence of the law to regulate and govern community museums has also downplayed their important role of preserving and presenting the diversity of Uganda’s cultural heritage, as well as, providing space for appreciating different cultures,” they add.

The improper national registry and inadequate guiding principle for conserving and presenting the artefacts in the museum is arising from the lack of a classification of museums and the absence of a national museum register.

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