National Theatre: Government plays hide and seek over documents

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Government has failed to turn in documents regarding the proposed redevelopment of the National Theatre, two months after a group of civil society organisations, opposed to the theatre's demolition, requested for them.

Appearing before the Chief Magistrates Court in Mengo on November 6, government lawyers requested for more time to avail the documents.

"They are playing hide and seek. We are not going to give up until we get the documents," said Ellady Muyambi, the executive director of Historic Resources Conservation Initiatives (HRCI), one of the organisations that wants to scrutinise the documents.

The documents being requested include: the original design of the National Theatre and Nommo Gallery; the proposal for the redevelopment of National Theatre and Nommo Gallery; designs for the redevelopment of National Theatre and Nommo Gallery, certified true copies of the land titles for the National Theatre Building and Nommo Gallery among others.

The presiding magistrate, Muhammad Kasakya, pushed the hearing to December 12 after Sylvia Cheptoris, the representative of the attorney general, said they should be given more time to put together all the documents.


Another case

In September, Muyambi, in combination with other civil Society organizations dragged government and the Trustees of the Uganda National Cultural Centre to the High Court in Kampala, challenging the proposed demolition of the National Theatre and Nommo Gallery.

Through Rwakafuuzi and Company Advocates, Angella Asiimwe the Legal Officer for Centre for Constitutional Governance together with Muyambi argued that the actions of the respondents are contrary to the statutory use of the trust property.

They argued that the National Theatre and Nommo Gallery were not put in place for economic purposes, but to be accommodation for theatre and cultural activities, and to develop cultural, artistic, academic, philanthropic and educational purposes.

They asked for an injunction permanently restraining government from razing down the National Theatre and Nommo Gallery, because no stake holder had been consulted nor had government carried out any cultural heritage impact assessment to provide what the impact of the demolition would be.


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