HomeSocialCities and municipalities to establish public museums.

Cities and municipalities to establish public museums.

By Jimmy Twist,

Parliament. 

While making her submission before the Committee on Trade, Tourism and Industry on Thursday, 01 September 2022, the State Minister for Gender and Culture, Hon Peace Mutuuzo proposed a new clause to be introduced on the Museums and Monument Bill, 2022 to authorize cities and municipalities to have public museums.

“This bill should provide for a clause which obliges all gazetted cities and municipalities in Uganda to establish a public museum,” Mutuuzo said. This, according to the minister, will help to promote and protect cultural and natural heritage in different regions. Mutuuzo was presenting the Ministry’s views in regard to the Bill that was tabled for first reading by the Minister of State for Tourism, Hon Martin Mugarra on 13 July 2022.

Additionally, minister Mutuuzo proposes that the new bill should also provide for the decentralization of the Uganda Museum by providing the creation of branches in the different regions of the country.

the State Minister for Gender and Culture, Hon Peace Mutuuzo

“Therefore, we should add a clause that empowers the Minister to establish branches of Uganda Museum in different parts of Uganda with the same functions of Uganda Museum in that region,” she said.

Mutuuzo also wants clause 13 (1) of the bill recast with a justification that it does not favor museum development by private persons.

Clause 13(1) of the Bill states that “a person shall not establish or develop a museum in Uganda without licence or declaration issued in accordance with this Act.”

“The law should not limit private initiatives of establishing private museums by individuals not for profit by making it difficult to start a private museum in private homes or spaces,” she said, adding that prohibition and licensing should only be applied to commercial and public museums where strict regulation is required. Currently, Uganda has only four private museums and 30 community museums.

The minister further demanded that the bill provides a clear interpretation of the roles of the Ministry of Gender and Culture and also redefine tangible and intangible cultural heritage that fall under the Tourism ministry and Gender ministry respectively. Tangible cultural heritage includes physical aspects like monuments, buildings, artifacts, etc while intangible cultural heritage includes non-physical aspects like music, language, spiritual beliefs, etc.  

However, the Minister of Tourism, Hon Tom Butiime was a little uncomfortable with Hon Mutuuzo’s submissions saying she should have made such proposals at the cabinet level during the drafting of the principles of the Bill. Nonetheless, he pledged to work together with the ministry of gender to study and reconcile the new proposals and come up with a harmonized position.

“I would have loved if this matter was sorted in cabinet before it came to Parliament…However, we shall sit down [with the minister of gender] and sort out these academic and professional nomenclatures so that we are home and dry, but I must insist that this bill is between two ministries,” Hon Butiime said.

The Museums and Monument Bill, 2022 among others seek to protect cultural and natural heritage resources and the environment, strengthen and provide a set up of institutional structure for effective management of the museums and monuments and to prohibit illicit trafficking of protected objects, and promote local content of cultural and natural heritage.

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