Opinion
KCCA should safeguard the history of Kampala city
Publish Date: May 13, 2014
newvision
  • mail
  • img

By Fredrick Nsibambi

The history of Kampala is a mixture of both written and oral accounts. As we might be aware, before the arrival of British colonists, Muteesa I, the then Kabaka of Buganda had chosen the zone that would become Kampala as a hunting reserve. The area was made up of hills and wetlands.


It was an ideal breeding ground for various game, particularly a species of antelope, the impala. When the British arrived in the area, they called one of the hills 'The Hill of the Impala' due to the large presence of impala.

The native Baganda used this reference in their local dialect (Luganda) - 'Akasozi K'empala, which later on became K’empala or Kampala with repeated usage of the word.

Kampala grew as the capital of the Buganda kingdom and later on of Uganda, from which several buildings survive, including the Kasubi Tombs, the Lubiri Palace, the Buganda Parliament and the Buganda Court of Justice.

Severely damaged in the Uganda-Tanzania War, the city was since then rebuilt with constructions of new buildings including hotels, banks, shopping malls, educational institutions, hospitals and improvement of war torn buildings and infrastructure. Traditionally, Kampala was a city of seven hills, but over time it has come to have a lot more.

However, the current expansion and “re-birth” of Kampala is at the expense of its immense history and cultural heritage which is inadequately documented. Cities the world-over expand but safeguard their history-for it is this history that a city projects its brand, pride and identity.

For such cities, development is cumulative while in the case of Kampala, development is retrogressive because one has to destroy a building before they erect a ‘modern’ one! Examples are numerous. Currently, most of the historical buildings along Market Street, Nakivubo Mews including Pioneer House have been demolished.

Mitchell courts building which was on Burton Street as well as many historical houses in Old Kampala have been replaced with glass buildings which have nothing to do with our identity as Ugandans.

Mukwenda House at Kubbiri, on Bombo road was demolished. Mukwenda House and Basiima House on Kabakanjagala road were some of the earliest storied buildings in Kampala in 1903.  I foresee a situation when Kampala will resemble cities like Singapore or Kuala Lampur (Malaysia)-yet we are Ugandans!!

My humble appeal to the Executive Director of KCCA is that we should safeguard the history and identity of Kampala. Expanding and renewal of the city is good but should not be at the expense of our history.

KCCA should provide incentives to private owners of historical buildings to prevent them from destroying our history. Incentives may include small grants to maintain such buildings, linking them to tour operators and publicise them as tourist attractions.

Sometimes recognising individuals who have preserved their buildings could work as a ‘carrot’. KCCA should also pass bye-laws to prevent demolition of important historical properties.

The writer is with Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Electoral Reform: What unresolved question could mean
Come 2016, Uganda will go to the polls with yet again the question of an unresolved “legal map”. Whereas we may boast of having had a “road map” several years before the next election, the “legal map” for the 2016 election has again not been clearly defined especially to the people’s expectations...
Another Great Leap Forward for Development
Next month, the world will achieve a milestone for global development efforts. The United Nations General Assembly will adopt the Sustainable Development Goals, an ambitious set of global objectives expected to improve the lives of millions of people by 2030...
Europe’s nationalist night watch
Populism is on the rise throughout Europe, as both economically depressed and prosperous countries become increasingly frustrated with their established political elites. But populists are unlikely to take control of any European government in the foreseeable future, even where the risk currently s...
Militia groups! Hmmm
I watched on Television as Major Roland Kakooza Mutale passed out what he termed as crime preventers. However, his body language was quite suspect and I was left wondering these were actually crime preventers or potential crime creators...
The implication of the exchange rate depreciation for inflation and monetary policy
I would like to begin by commending the Private Sector Foundation for organising this Trade Expo, which performs an important role in promoting trade and industry in Uganda....
Why we should support women’s growth in politics
Women’s political participation is no longer an issue of contention as the Constitution gives every woman the right to vote, campaign for elective political office, attend village/ local council meetings and belong to a political party of their choice....
Do you support KCCA'S move to ban campaign posters from the city?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter