Cities and municipalities will be mandated to establish public museums if Parliament adopts a proposal from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.
While making her submission before the Committee on Tourism, Trade and Industry, the Minister of State for Gender, Labour and Social Development (Gender and Culture), Hon. Peace Mutuuzo, proposed a new clause to be introduced on the Museums and Monument Bill, 2022 to authorise 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, Wildlife and Antiquities (Tourism), Hon. Martin Mugarra on 13 July 2022.
Additionally, Mutuuzo proposes that the new bill should also provide for the decentralisation of the Uganda Museum by providing the creation of branches in the different regions of the country.
“Therefore, we should add a clause that empowers the minister to establish branches of the Uganda Museum in different parts of Uganda with the same functions of the Uganda Museum in that region,” she said.
Mutuuzo also wants clause 13 (1) of the bill recast with a justification that it does not favour 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.”
She added: “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.”
Prohibition and licensing, the minister argued, should only be applied to commercial and public museums where strict regulation is required. Currently, Uganda has four private and 30 community museums.
The minister further demanded that the bill provides a clear interpretation of roles of the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and also re-define tangible and intangible cultural heritage that fall under the tourism ministry and gender ministry respectively.
Tangible cultural heritage includes physical aspects like monuments, buildings and artefacts among others while intangible cultural heritage includes non-physical aspects like music, language and spiritual beliefs among others.
However, the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Hon. Tom Butime, was uncomfortable with Hon. Mutuuzo’s submissions saying she should have made such proposals at cabinet level during the drafting of the principles of the bill.
Nonetheless, he pledged to work with his counterpart to study and reconcile the new proposals and come up with a harmonised position.
“We shall sit down [with the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development] 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. Butime said.
The Museums and Monument Bill, 2022 among others seeks to protect cultural and natural heritage resources and the environment, strengthen and provide set up of institutional structure for effective management of the museums and monuments and to prohibit illicit trafficking of protected objects and to promote local content of cultural and natural heritage.