Some Ugandans demand demolition of colonialists’ statues, names changed

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Colonialist Gerald Portal's statue standing at the entry of Fort Portal Town.

A section of Ugandans have taken to twitter demanding that colonialist Gerald Portal’s statue standing at the entry of Fort Portal Town in Kabarole District pulled down.

The demand follows the demolition of the 18-foot (5.5-metre) bronze monument to slave trader, Edward Colston, in the southwest English city of Bristol that was thrown into the habour on Sunday.

The protest was one of the many across Britain in recent days in response to the death of Mr George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of police in the United States.

In Uganda, Human Rights lawyer and social justice advocate, Ms Sarah K. Kasande, says there is no use of keeping Gerald Portal’s statue in Fort Portal town adding that its presence there means that Uganda is lauding colonialism .

On her twitter handle, she also wants the name of Fort Portal town be changed back to the original indigenous appellation of Kabarole.

Fort Portal town was named in honour of colonialist Gerald Portal.

“Here is another one [statue] that must go! The ugly Gerald Portal monument at the entry of Fort Portal town. I have never understood why we continue to glorify our colonial past! The name should also be changed! The advocate tweets.

Protesters pull down slave trader Edward Colston’s statue in Britain following the murder of Mr George Floyd, a Black American in USA.

Mr Moses Kadoba another tweeter user suggests that the monument instead be replaced with any other person who worked to develop Kabarole district citing the late Brig Noble Mayombo while Mr Mathias Ssemanda wants it to be replaced with one of the past kings of Tooro.

A one Mr Godwin suggests that the statue should be replaced with that of Omukama Cwa Kabaleega of Bunyoro.

Mr Onyimbo Kerama abhors Gerald Portal saying he played a big role in disintegrating the social set up of the people of Bunyoro –Kitara Kingdom, thus, destroying the socio-political setting of the Great Bunyoro – Kitara Kingdom.

He also adds his voice that the name of Fort Portal town and other places renamed by the Whites elsewhere in Uganda should be changed to suit the local nomenclature.

“He helped with the divide and rule struggle promoting Tooro kingdom, undermining greater Bunyoro – Kitara Kingdom. The statue should be demolished not kept on the street. The whites are not gods, everything should be renamed. Lake Victoria should also change to something indigenous like Lake Matoke or Lake Jinja.”

Mr Karumuna Kagubare wants the history of colonialists to be erased from Uganda’s syllabus saying they contributed to the destruction of the once organised societies of Uganda.

“Actually we should pull down all statues of these colonialists. Why should we keep them in our history; and we should delete them from our syllabus.”

Mr Muchope Amooti says he is baffled when Ugandans in particular and Africans in general consider themselves underdogs in all domains in the eyes of the Whites.

“We pretend too much. We surrendered our first names, we feel our traditional marriage isn’t enough we must supplement it with white wedding. We are convinced that our indigenous religion was for Satan and holy ones are those from Saudi Arabia or Israel”.

Mr Kugonza K Akiiki on his facebook account wonders why Frederick Lugard and Henry Colville have continued to be revered yet they committed many atrocities and disintegrated Bunyoro kingdom.

“Fred Lugard and Henry Colville were responsible for the death of two million Ugandans. These were mostly Banyoro who resisted British Colonial rule. Especially under Colville- rape, murder and plunder of whole villages escalated. He broke off two thirds of Bunyoro kingdom, giving a large chunk of land to Baganda collaborators, hence, starting the crisis of the lost counties that eventually led to the 1966 Uganda crisis and allowed Tooro to secede.”

“Colville even stole 279 regal items including the nine legged official Bunyoro throne that every Bunyoro ruler must sit on to be officially recognised as Omukama. This stolen stool is up to today still displayed at the Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford University. The museum to date refuses to return any of the looted items, calling them “our most important collections”…

“Yet, 120 years on, and despite 58 years of [Uganda’s] Independence, we revere and still celebrate our killers, rapists, pillagers and colonialists, honouring them with roads, avenues and streets.

“Victoria, the British queen would be amused. The native was indeed totally subdued mentally and physically,” Mr Kugonza wrote.

However, other Ugandans want the monuments preserved to remind them of the past colonial era in Uganda.

Mr George Geria says: “These artefacts are invaluable. They are a testimony of the journey we have been through and need to be preserved” while Mr Anthony Kwesiga says: “It is part of Tooro’s history and heritage. If you understand the past, you can chat your future better. Those against the statue or its logic should advocate for those to be done for indigenous Kabarole personalities worth celebrating.”

Colonialist Portal was based at boma where the current Tooro golf club is located.

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