Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Ag. Deputy Director, Physical Planning, Anitah Kusiima has reechoed commitment by the authority to protect and safe guard historic buildings and sites in Kampala.
This was during a one-day workshop that was organized by the Cross Cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU) in conjunction with Buganda Heritage and Tourism Board (BHTB) aimed at enhancing the capacity of managers and caretakers of historic properties in Kampala.
Kusiima said that the authority has maintained its stand on protecting historic and heritage sites and have since drafted an ordinance that awaits the passing of the National law.
“The authority drafted an ordinance and this was before the Council for consideration when we received information that we should halt until Parliament passes the Museums and Monument Bill, 2022,” Kusiima said.
Kusiima said that in the absence of the ordinance, the authority has made efforts to protect the historic sites by engaging in several activities which include; documentation of the sites, engaging stakeholders, engaging developers among others.
“We started with documentation, we have a booklet with a list of these sites and the list is continuous. We shall continue to engage different stakeholders, complete the documentation, be able to map out these sites and support the foundation. Be able to have continuous engagement, publicity, see ways of engaging developers to see how we can maintain these buildings so that they are not seen as abandoned sites but sites that can be appreciated and adapted in terms of function so as to maintain the history of our city,” Kusiima noted.
She noted that in bid to protect the property owners, the KCCA draft ordinance provides for incentives, tax waivers, award systems so that those protecting the historic buildings are motivated.
“We are engaging other government departments to ensure that such incentives are approved and passed. The incentives will help us get a balance in the conservation aspects and benefit to the property owner,” Kusiima added.
Simon Musasizi, the CCFU Heritage Trust Programme Manager said that the idea was to bring together property owners so that they can be able to discuss the several challenges that they face as they safe guard historic properties as well as pushing for the KCCA ordinance and the national law to be passed.
Musasizi noted that the workshop was also aimed at encouraging the property owners to form a platform in form of an association where they can have one voice to collectively air-out and find solutions for the prevailing challenges.
CCFU Deputy Executive Director, Fredrick Nsibambi called upon Parliament to expedite the passing of the Museums and Monuments Bill, 2022 that will do much in safeguarding the historic buildings and heritage sites.
Nsibambi noted that the other way of safeguarding the historic buildings is through providing incentives to the private property owners by the State.
“The government needs to appreciate the significance of these historic buildings by offering reduced taxes or non-taxation to these building,” Nsibambi said.
He noted that in order to avoid dwarfing the historic buildings, the State should order that there should be no construction of the modern high sky-scrapers in a given diameter next to these buildings.