Nommo: I Owe no one-Gen Tumwine

By Vision Reporter

“People need to get the facts right.In the case of Nommo Gallery, for all these years there is no agreement, on record for rent between Government and Tumwine or The Creations Ltd."

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PIC: Gen Elly Tuwine. (File photo)
KAMPALA - General Elly Tumwine said Monday, he owed no one, not least the Government, in a Nommo Gallery ‘misunderstanding.’
The gallery saga has seen Parliament tell the veteran army officer to pay sh1.6b for the years he has used the facility.
The General was passionate in his defense and said “there is no rent” he owed Government or anybody.
“People need to get the facts right. What is rent? Renting, also known as hiring, is an agreement where a payment is made for the temporary use of a good, services or property owned by another.
“In the case of Nommo Gallery, for all these years there is no agreement, on record for rent between Government and Tumwine or The Creations Ltd,” said Tumwine.
This was at the Media Centre in Kampala after the security minister had given his sector’s update against the NRM manifesto.
Chairperson of the committee on Gender, Labour and Social Development presented a report to Parliament last week, which alleged that the veteran army officer was in debt to Government.
But Tumwine, chronicling the history, said it was former President Milton Obote who gave Nommo Gallery to artists. And that the venue still belonged to artists.
He has been using the venue as any artist.  
Tumwine speaks out
Nommo Gallery was established by Visual Artists in 1963, on Kampala Road.
Later, their building was demolished for development of the city. In compensation, (former) President Milton Obote, in 1967, gave the artists, one of the Nakasero State Lodge houses, which was being occupied by Francis Odida, the head of the cultural troop.
The handover ceremony was officiated by the (then) First Lady Madam Miria Obote on November  15, 1967, in the presence of  the late honorable Tiberondwa, the Hon Henry Kyemba, the late Artist Prof. Francis Musango Gwantamu, the late artist Elly Kyeyune,  Artist Prof Nagenda and Mr. Francis Odida.
Some of these who were alive in 2004, helped the Artists Association and the Director of Nommo Gallery to write affidavits to support our appeal to the current President, when National Housing Corporation had behind our back made a title to sell the house of Nommo Gallery as a Government House.
The Gallery was left to the artists and to celebrate the anniversary again on November 15, 2004, President Yoweri Museveni opened an exhibition at Nommo Gallery, and we thanked him.
It is after the threat of National Housing Corporation that the recovered title for Nommo Gallery was put under the Uganda National Culture Centre for protection from any further attempts to encroach on it; having seen how some of the Government officials grab properties.
The Board of Trustees of UNCC was originally for the National Theatre only, according to the Act that established it.
Nommo Gallery belongs to Visual Artists and a Trustee is not an automatic owner.  The Board is supervised by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Developemnt. To me, the Artists own, the Trust protects and the ministry protects and supervises Nommo Gallery for promoting Art.