The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga has today received a petition calling for the removal of street names and symbols that glorify Uganda’s colonial masters.
Speaking on Friday, Apollo Makubuya, the chief petitioner described the continued display of colonial iconography as a slap in the face of many Patriots that fought for Africa’s Independence right from the fifteenth century till the late 1960s.
Additionally, Makubuya said the glorification of colonial-era icons is painful to those struggling for Africa’s socio-economic independence in this era of Neo-Colonialism.
“Colonial iconography not only offends the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals and groups from cruel inhuman and degrading treatment but reinforces and celebrates a culture of colonial supremacy, domination, and impunity. The removal of these ominous vestiges is long overdue,” Makubuya added.
He pointed out that the move had been encouraged by social movements in the United Kingdom and the United States of America that have moved to obliterate the same legacy that was premised on slavery, colonialism, and racism.
The petitioners want monuments and streets named after Henry Colville, Trevor Terman, Fredrick Lugard, George Galt, and King’s African Rifles Army (KAR) removed.
Furthermore, Makubuya wants the Government to develop comprehensive policies for the naming and re-naming of geographical features headed by a representative body of eminent Ugandans.
“Such policies should promote deserving national heroes and heroines as well as contribute to national healing, harmony, heritage and respect for the protection of human rights,” he argues.
That said, Makubuya also wants Uganda’s Education Curriculum revisited to expunge colonial propaganda and further research into the creation of colonial rule in Uganda supported.
“This would support the work of the United Nations Council for Human Rights in its efforts to seek accountability and redress for victims,” he emphasizes.
The petition is signed by former Principal Judge James Ogoola, Prof. Lwanga Lunyigo a Presidential Assistant and Stephen Mukitale the Chairperson of the Bunyoro Caucus.
It is copied to President Yoweri Museveni, Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, and Frank Tumwebaze the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development.
Responding, Speaker Kadaga promised to act on their grievances next week before pointing out that this development reminds her of “A recent attempt to eradicate the history of Bunyoro Kitara from the Syllabus.”
“I think our minds have also been colonized and we need to re-discover ourselves and our identity,” she opined.
It should be noted that on March 13 this year, Kadaga rapped the Education Ministry when it emerged that important aspects of Uganda’s history had been erased.
This, she observed, was odd considering the fact that South Africa, whose early history was overshadowed by Apartheid, had renamed Johannesburg Tshwane and Durban Ethekwini.
To make matters worse, Kadaga revealed how she felt embarrassed when her Turkish counterpart asked why Ugandan waterbodies don’t carry indigenous names.
“She was asking me about the lakes in Uganda. So I gave Victoria, Nalubaale, ‘simanya’ Albert. Then she said but do you have local names of those lakes I said yes, why don’t you use them? I had no answers,” she revealed.