Parliament asked to decolonize streets, landmarks across Uganda

Colville Street - Kampala

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Former Buganda Kingdom Attorney General Apollo Makubuya has petitioned Parliament seeking to decolonize and rename streets in Kampala and other geographical features, saying current names glorify slavery and brutality.

Makubuya, also the Special Advisor to the Kabaka of Buganda on Palace Matters, led a team of elders and politicians to present their petition to Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga on 26th, June 2020. The petition was signed by over 5,200 people.

Makubuya told the Speaker that the continued public display of colonial iconography glorifies individuals responsible for the brutalization, subjugation and humiliation of Ugandans and that the continued use of the colonial names is a slap in the face of the many brave people that fought for political independence across Africa.

Makubuya adds that colonial iconology not only offends fundamental rights and freedom of individuals and groups from cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment but reinforces and celebrates a culture of colonial supremacy, domination and impunity.

He and the rest of the petitioners, propose that street names and monuments that celebrate and immortalize colonialists such as Trevor Ternan, Fredrick Lugard, Henry Colville, Harry George Galt and the Kings African Rifles, among others, should be removed.

Dastur Street - Kampala
Dastur Street – Kampala

They also want Parliament to make comprehensive policies and laws to streamline the naming or re-naming of geographical features, streets and public places.

“Such policies should promote deserving national heroes and heroines as well as contribute to national healing, harmony, heritage and the respect for the protection of human rights and dignity,” said Makubuya.

He recalls that amidst recent global protests on Black Lives Matter, protestors in several parts of the world especially Europe, and the Americas brought down statues and colonial landmarks to challenge an order that has been advantaged by racist systems built on the back of slavery, colonialism and racism.

Justice James Ogoola, the Chairman of the Elders Forum says that it is time to put a representation of the African heritage, among ket features that define the country. He adds that although renaming the streets does not change a lot, it is a step towards total decolonization.

Read Also: How Kampala’s Roads, Streets and Avenues get their names

The group also wants the Government to revisit the school curriculum, content and methodologies on Uganda’s struggle against colonial rule and meaning of independence to ensure that the history of Uganda is told.

Kadaga said that the petition reminded her of a recent attempt by the Ministry of Education to eradicate the history of Bunyoro Kitara from the syllabus. She said Uganda needs to rediscover its identity. 

The team of petitioners included among others, Medard Lubega Segona, the  Busiro East MP, Lwanga Lunyigo, a Professor of History and Stephen Mukitale, the Buliisa County MP.