By Samali Kisakye
After ticking its last at the end of a long life, Kampala’s clock in the landmark clocktower is to be laid in its final resting place – the Uganda Museum.
One of Kampala’s oldest monuments that has been housing the clock is to be re-built not far from the site at which it has stood since 1954 where it was erected to commemorate the first of official visit of Queen Elizabeth II.
At the time the monument was erected, Elizabeth II was Uganda’s head of state and had come to commission the Electricity generation station at the Owen Falls Dam, Jinja.
It was her second time to set foot in Uganda, the first being a brief stopover at Entebbe where she had rushed a couple of years earlier to catch a flight to England when news of her father’s death found her in Kenya where she had gone on holiday.
The April 1954 visit though important, was not a happy one. The queen came a time when the Kabaka of Buganda, Edward Mutesa II was in exile in London, where Her Majesty’s Government had deported him to the previous year.
Mutesa had disagreed with Governor Andrew Cohen on several issues, key among them being his rejection of the proposed format of the East African Federation.
The Baganda were in prolonged calm protest over their king’s deportation and had refused to crown another king, insisting on the unconditional return of Mutesa.
All the functions the Queen performed were attended by white officials and residents, as the other kingdoms of Ankole, Tooro and Bunyoro were also boycotting the Queen in solidarity with Buganda.
It was to take the Queen nearly half a century before returning to Uganda, which she did in 2007 to lead the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting – CHOGM.
It is a sign of the longevity of Elizabeth II, that the monument erected in her honour has gone to rest while she is still reigning.
The queen recently ruled out abdicating, saying she will serve her country until expending the last energy in her. Queen Elizabeth became the UK’s longest-serving monarch on 9th Septemeber 2015 when surpassed the 63 years, seven months and two days record of her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria’s reign.