Historical and Cultural Sites in Northern Uganda Lie in Ruins

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The destruction of Kasubi Royal Tombs tombs by a fire last evening has triggered a debate about Uganda's history and cultural heritage. At Kangai village, Dokolo district, the stone marking the place where the colonial army captured king Kabalega of Bunyoro and Mwanga of Buganda is invisible. The two kings were exiled to the Seychelles islands in 1899. Lango cultural foundation has previously promised to preserve and maintain the site but no visible work has been done on the ground. At Guruguru caves in Amuru district, another historical site is overgrown with wild bush, thorns and trees. The Lamogi hid in the caves during a rebellion against a colonial disarmament decree in 1911. The caves and the Lamogi rebellion became a historic symbol of resistance against colonialism. Patrick Oryema, the Amuru LC5 vice chairperson says the district plans to maintain the caves starting next financial year. Another historical site, located about 20 kilometres north of Gulu town, is Fort Patiko. It was a slave collection centre before it was conquered by Sir Samuel Baker in 1872. Axe marks of slaves executed and stone tools used to grind nuts and sim sim are slowly wearing away due to exposure. Constance Oneka, a guide at the site says there has been no attempt to protect or renovate the site where cows freely roam. Martin Ojara, the Gulu district speaker says the neglect observed at the site indicates the bad attitude of the country towards its history. //Cue in: "If you are ..." Cue out: "... is well built."// The Acholi cultural Institution, Ker Kwaro Acholi, last year received 100 million shillings from the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation. Kenneth Oketa, the Acholi Prime Minister, says the money has been used to identify the cultural sites and make them available on the internet. However little else has been done on the ground. The Kasubi Tombs fire has had a long-reaching impact, roping in even the Acholi paramount chief, David Onen Acana II. Rwot Onen Acana described the inferno as sacrilegious. He asked the Buganda Kingdom to institute an independent probe to establish the cause of the fire before considering any response.

 

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