The Speaker, Anita Among, has said Parliament will continue in its efforts to ensure that Uganda’s culture and heritage is kept intact.
She said this while launching the Parliamentary Forum on Gender and Culture on Tuesday, 31 January 2023.
The Speaker, who is the patron of the forum said there is need to create awareness of the legal provisions on matters of cultural development.
“The biggest problem we have is that we make laws in this House [Parliament] but when it comes to implementation, the actors do not. You need to do advocacy to enlighten our public,” said Among.
Hon. Apollo Yeri Ofwono, the Forum Chairperson, said it seeks to support the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development in budgeting and legislation.
He added that the forum will advocate for the creation of a line ministry for culture so as to efficiently push the agenda.
“There are so many activities that have been removed from the Ministry of Gender and taken to other ministries. We want those activities on to be taken over by a line minister for culture,” Ofwono said.
Naumo Juliana Akoryo, the Director for Gender and Community Development at Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development called on Members of Parliament to protect the work of artistes in Uganda through legislation.
She also called on the parliamentary forum to follow up on domestication of ratified conventions on cultural preservation.
She cited the Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage adding that there is need for a specific law on creativity.
“The Attorney General has given us up to May to have a law. We shall come back to you and consult the artistes on the key issues we shall use to develop the principles of the law,” Akoryo added.
Rose Agoi, the Secretary General, Uganda National Commission for UNESCO observed that budgeting for culture can position Uganda in promoting its heritage on the regional and international scene.
“Uganda has ratified three conventions on culture. They are key in preserving our heritage and promoting cultural tourism but lack of funding has made culture to lag behind,” Agoi said.
She also observed that the existing legal framework in the country is not protecting artistes.
“Parliament has a major role to play to protect the copyrights of people’s work. This forum is important because through it we can popularise our culture through legislation,” Agoi said.
The Executive Director at Cross Culture Foundation Uganda, Barbara Kabwetera, called for a push to have Uganda’s indigenous knowledge embedded in the school curriculum, so as to change the negative perception of culture in Uganda.
Adekemi Ndieli, the Deputy Representative for UN Women in Uganda noted the opportunity to advance positive cultural values that can improve the dignity of all Ugandans especially minority tribes and cultures.
“As Members of Parliament, we expect that with the establishment of this forum, you will be a position to analyse and pick up these positive cultural attributes to advance the well being of all in Uganda,” Ndieli said.