Friday, January 13th, 2023
Parliament at the final stage of passing a Bill into law as an Act of Parliament sends said Bill to the President for assent. President Museveni has recently held his assent of the recent Museum and Monuments Bill 2022 back to parliament for reconsideration.
As discussed previously, the Act seeks to consolidate and reform the law relating to cultural and natural heritage; to strengthen the administrative structures for the effective management of the cultural and natural heritage.
The President’s reservations stemmed from the fact that Kilembe Mines should not be considered a protected area as stated by the Act because it possesses a mining license and the company is a state enterprise with majority public ownership.
Kilembe Mines is Uganda’s largest copper mine. In 2015, the managers at Kilembe decided to resume copper extraction and upon said decision, the mine was revived in stages. The president’s concern is based on the fact that if the Kilembe mine is declared a protected area according to the Act, its operations would cease. In other words, the mine’s inclusion in the bill should be deleted as it does not fit the description of a protected area. A few other areas are to be struck off the list of protected areas. These include:
“I don’t like museums, there’s nothing to buy”–Violet Trefusis
What are protected areas under the Act?
‘Protected area’ under the Act means a site which has been and remains declared by the Minister to be a protected area. The sites mentioned above are listed under the second schedule as protected sites under the Bill. These sites are protected under Part X of the Bill that provides for the guardianship of sites and monuments, agreement for the protection and preservation of said sites and monuments and discoveries.
The President advised that the following changes be made to the Bill;
The Parliament has the absolute power to pass a Bill into law after following the correct procedure. The assent of the president is the final stage a Bill has to undergo before it passes as an Act of Parliament. In this case, because the President withdrew his assent, the Bill will be taken back to Parliament for consideration.
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