Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa (pictured) has warned Cabinet Ministers against presenting to Parliament shabby bills that end up being returned for review by lawmakers.
He was reacting to a letter by President Yoweri Museveni revealing his decision not to sign into law the Museum and Monuments Bill 2022, because some of the provisions would hamper the work Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, especially in the management of mines that had been declared historical sites.
The President protested the decision to include three mining areas, including Kilembe Mines, arguing that Kilembe Mines is licensed by Ministry of Energy and Minerals and Cabinet took a decision in 2018 to reinvest in the facility, into an active commercial project for the exploration, of copper and cobalt for he industrialization of Uganda, and naming it as a historical site would affect investment.
“Therefore, Kilembe Mines doesn’t suit the description of a protected area. The declaration of Kilembe Mines as a protected area would frustrate its development and government’s ongoing competitive bidding process to get a suitable partner in the mineral sharing agreement. It should be deleted from schedule 2,” read in part the President’s letter.
The President argued that although it is important to note that the sustainable includes protection of cultural and natural heritage, those activities are important for socio-economic development and can co-exist in accordance with the law.
“Therefore, the bill should provide for extensive consultation with the Ministry of Energy before the site is listed as a protected area,” said President Museveni.
However, Deputy Speaker lashed out at the members of Cabinet for not carrying out consultations, arguing that if the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Energy had held discussions, the back and forth exchange could have been avoided.
He said: “This is a schedule that came from Cabinet. The Committee didn’t add any of these places. Cabinet is chaired by the President and the Ministers who are raising these issues sit in Cabinet. If Cabinet you bring your work and we approve then you return it that we have done shabby work what do you want us to do? Because this is making Parliaments look shabby.”
Government tabled before Parliament the Museum and Monuments Bill on 13th July 2022 and the proposed legislation is supposed to repeal The Historical Monuments Act of 1967, Cap- 46, arguing that the 55year old bill has limited focus on preservation and protection of historical monuments, making it obsolete in terms of providing the much wider cultural and natural heritage.
According to Government, whereas Uganda has a rich and diverse cultural heritage of approximately 650 designated cultural heritage sites and monuments, only 56 sites have been relatively preserved and managed at a national level, adding that the improper national registry and inadequate guiding principle for conserving in the museum is arising from the lack of classification of museums and absence of a national museum register.