By Eric E, Okoth
KAMPALA – Apollo Makubuya, a prominent city lawyer and historian has challenged the concerned authorities to change the names of roads in Kampala and streets named after Europeans to a more decolonized form.
On the 20th June 2019, Mr. Makubuya who also serves as the Chairperson of Directors at Equity Bank Limited Uganda raised a spirited argument challenging the establishment to revise the street names.
Mr Makubuya addressed his patriotic message to the city councillors and planning authorities in Kampala taking them back in history with vivid reminders of the harsh nature of the colonialists whose names still live on for several decades after colonial rule.
“Lugard was notorious in Uganda especially as he is remembered to have forced Kabaka Mwanga to sign an agreement at gun point,”
stated the concerned historian.
Most of the streets are named after white (European) males who are mostly British colonialists that took part in the colonization of Uganda.
Makubuya also criticized the fact that the only streets named after Africans are named after non-Ugandans such as Dedan Kimathi, from whom Kimathi Street derived its popular name.
He also decried the norm of naming the streets after war veterans would be glorifying the brutal and violent nature of the military, reminding us of how violent our power transition has always been.
Non of the councillors was able to recall Colville, after whom Colville street in Kampala is named!
In response, one city Councillor in attendance replied saying
“the problem is, most of these streets and their names have been adapted by Google and Google maps. It is what is globally known and can’t be easily changed. ” The Councillor retorted.
Of course, Mr. Makubuya’s complete decolonisation challenge did not go without criticism and scrutiny.
Bernard Olok a lawyer said “you cannot just rub off history as you would do pencil writing with an eraser.”
He advised that KCCA should consider naming the many new roads they have to construct in Kampala after fellow Ugandans, who are considered by the citizens to be heroes.
He argued that the old streets should be left as they are, “because we cannot run away from our past just like that.”
It is yet to be known whether Makubuya’s nationalistic message fell on fertile or barren ground!