A group of activists led by former Deputy Katikkiro of BugandaApollo Makubuya have petitioned President Yoweri Museveni and other government bodies to have colonial street names throughout the country changed.
The group that also includes former Principal Judge, James Ogoola, Prof.Lwanga Lunyigo, a professor of history and a special presidential assistant , MP Stephen Mukitale and fellow Busiro East legislator Medard Sseggona.
The group says that they are acting on behalf of other 5200 people who have signed the petition calling for the removal of symbols, street names, monuments and other colonial iconography throughout the country.
“The petitioners strongly believe that the continued public display of colonial iconography which glorifies individuals responsible for the brutalization, subjugation and humiliation of colonized peoples of Uganda is a slap in the face of many brave people that fought for the political independence of Africa from the 15th century until the late 1960s,” the petitioners say.
The group argues that it is doubly painful for others that continue to fight for the socio-economic independence of the African continent from neo-colonialism
George Floyd impact
In the wake of the brutal murder of George Floyd, an African American by the US Police on May, 25, 2020, protests broke out across the US and Europe in a bid to advocate for rights of blacks.
The protests have seen several monuments and statues of persons thought to have been abusers of the black race brought down by protesters.
According to the petitioners led by former Buganda deputy premier, the developments in several parts of the US and Europe have given them courage in efforts to have Uganda totally decolonized.
“The petitioners are encouraged by both the strong and determined movement in many parts of the world especially the US and UK to challenge an order that has been advantaged by racist systems built on the black slavery, colonialism and racism,” the petition says.
The group in the petition to the president, Speaker of Parliament, Gender and Labour Minister, Kampala Minister and Lord Mayor say government and all relevant local authorities should heed the call to decolonize the country.
“We call upon them to remove street names and monuments that celebrate and immortalize colonial subjugators such as Brigadier Trevor Teman, Lord Fredrick Lugard, Maj.Gen.Henry Colville, Commissioner Harry George Galt, and the Kings African Rifles who were notorious in their inhumane and degrading treatment of the colonized peoples in the Uganda protectorate.”
The group also demands that government remembers them by placing their names in the Uganda Museum with appropriate labeling them so that current and future generations learn about the true stories behind them.
“Make comprehensive laws and policies to streamline the naming and re-naming of geographical features, streets and public places by a representative body of eminent Ugandans. Revisit the school curriculum, content and methodologies on the struggle against colonial rule.”
The Imperial British East Africa Company transferred its administration rights of territory consisting mainly of Buganda Kingdom to the British government in 1893 which ensured that Uganda was a protectorate of the British Empire between 1894 to 1962 when the country gained her independence.
However, despite the independence, several streets in the capital, Kampala and other major towns around the country especially where the British either stayed or worked still maintain colonial names.
Some towns like Fort Portal have colonial names.