As Uganda celebrates Heroes day, thousands of Ugandans have signed an online petition that has been launched to rename Ugandan streets and landmarks named after colonial masters.
The petition to President Museveni, Parliament, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and other Authorities has been launched to remove names of colonial rulers and armies including Sir Henry Colville, Captain Fredrick Lugard, the Kings African Rifles, Gen Dewinton, Col Ternan among others who, as Ugandan history shows, were responsible for reprehensive crimes including pillage, rape, and murder during the era of the British Empire in Uganda.
“Currently, there are many streets in Kampala, Jinja, Entebbe, Fort Portal and elsewhere which glorify these individuals and help perpetuate a legacy of colonial conquest, occupation, subjugation, and control.
It is important to take these names off the pedestal they stand (they belong to museums of colonial history) and instead recognize other notable Ugandans or other personalities who are deserving of such esteem based on a consultative process and recommendations of a respectable and representative body of eminent Ugandans,” the petition reads.
It adds, “we believe that the removal of visible vestiges of colonial hegemony from public space is a crucial part of a process of decolonization and ending an era of domination and impunity.”
If further says that the killing of a black American, George Floyd by a white Police officer in the United States demonstrates the urgency to address all forms of injustice and discrimination everywhere.
The killing of George Floyd sparked public protests and condemnation not only in the United States but the world over.
Solidarity protesters in the United Kingdom removed the slave trade statue of the 17th century and threw it in the river.
As Uganda celebrates heroes and heroines who represent and promote values of freedom, dignity, peace, and justice, the petitioners say that it is time for Ugandans to come to terms with their history, acknowledging the crimes committed.
However, a few people have stressed opposing views saying that history should not be erased.
“Why are we erasing history? There is a saying, you will never know where you are going unless you know where you came from. No wonder our history is scanty. Please leave as is. Let us focus on building a new city and give the new names we want. Europe still has old towns very well kept,” read a comment by a certain Loulayeum who refused to sign the petition.
“Actually some people are saying preserving the history of a place through its significant historic resources gives the community its unique character. Historic preservation provides a link to the roots of the community and its people,” another comment read.