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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Uganda Museum faces demolition for government offices

One of Uganda’s most venerated and symbolic cultural and preservation sites faces demolition to pave way for the construction of government offices.

The Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry recently sanctioned the construction of a 60-storey building on the site that currently houses the Uganda Museum, a national heritage centre.
According to a source, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, the demolition of the museum, located on Kira Road, will pave way for the construction of the ministry of tourism offices.
The source said the museum will be given two floors in the new building when it is completed. However, some cultural conservation experts have criticized the move, arguing that it will destroy the heritage and long history of the country’s sole museum.

Dr Ephraim Kamuhangire, the former Commissioner for Museum and Monuments and a curator at the heritage, expressed fear that if the project is allowed to go ahead, it will lead to destruction of important cultural objects. “Some of these objects that define our culture and history are irreplaceable and should not be destroyed,” Dr Kamuhangire said.

State Minister for Tourism and Wildlife and Antiquities, Mr Rukundo Serapio, admitted there is an ongoing project on the site that is still “in its infant stages”. The minister, however, declined to comment further.

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