The Uganda Museum gets a sh500m conservation grant from the world's richest friends:

By Ronald Mugabe


Added 24th July 2019


In an announcement made by the Foundation last week, the Uganda Museum is among the 10 significant buildings of the 20th century that were deemed fit to be supported in the 2019 edition of the initiative that has run since 2014.


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The old building of the Uganda Museum built 1954 Photo/File


KAMPALA - The Uganda Museum has been awarded a significant grant aimed at its conservation. The grant amounting to $135,000 (aboutsh500m) was awarded by the Getty Foundation through its Keeping It Modern initiative.

In an announcement made by the Foundation last week, the Uganda Museum is among the 10 significant buildings of the 20th century that were deemed fit to be supported in the 2019 edition of the initiative that has run since 2014.

One of the major reasons highlighted for the support was the absence of national heritage protection laws which threatens its existence yet it’s so iconic in the history of Uganda. “The real estate development pressures and the lack of national heritage protection laws mean the museum and other historic buildings face mounting threats. Over time, the structure has also suffered from cracks in the concrete frame and moisture infiltration due to the groundwater below the foundation,” read the foundation’s statement.

Through this grant, Getty-funded experts will prepare a conservation management plan that includes investigations into the original construction materials and the current structural safety of the building.

Designed by Ernst May, a German-born pioneer of urban planning who worked in Africa for two decades after being forced into exile when the Nazis seized power, the Uganda Museum at the time of its construction in 1954 formed part of a larger expansion plan for the fast-growing capital city, Kampala.

“As the first modern building in Uganda and one of the earliest cast-in-place concrete structures in Kampala, the museum influenced the design of other government and institutional buildings throughout the country. While May included elements of international style modernism for the museum such as flat roofing sections, horizontal rows of windows, a cantilevered entry canopy, and polished concrete floors, he also demonstrated a sensitivity to the local environment by adding perforated partitions for cooling airflow and angled walls that produce diffuse interior lighting,” read the statement explaining why the museum was awarded the grant.

It added that 65 years after it was built, the museum remains a popular landmark for international tourists and local residents and survives today as the last intact work of May’s sizeable oeuvre in the country.

The other nine buildings to receive the funding include the Buzludzha Monument in Bulgaria, Torino Esposizioni in Italy, Beira Railway Station in Mozambique and the Villa E-1027 in France.

Health workers in Uganda fear to retire without enough money to live on:

July 24, 2019

Written by Editorial

Gov't wants the retirement age for health specialists extended by 9 yearsHealth workers working in the hospital

Gov't wants the retirement age for health specialists extended by 9 years

The ministry of Public Service has opened new divisions among Ugandans with its proposal to raise the retirement age of certain categories of public servants from 60 to 70 years.

The ministry claims the worst-hit sector is health, which has few specialists, who must be retained for an extra ten years. The ministry argues that the population of Uganda is growing fast against a slower production of medical specialists. And this, they argue, calls for a review of the employment terms of medical workers. 

But this argument is lame. This affirmative action is not clothed in good faith. Uganda has since elevated certain public and private universities to teach medicine. Before, it was only Makerere University producing medical doctors. Simply put, government has failed to retain the many doctors coming out of our universities.

Medical doctors work under very bad conditions and their pay is miserable. And there’s also a problem with staff career development schemes in government medical facilities. If plans and strategies to fill up specialists’ gaps were followed up, Public Service would not be proposing such desperate measures.

The answer lies in reviewing the employment terms such as improving working conditions, better pay and cultivating an atmosphere where staff specialize in those areas which are badly needed.

The public service standing orders of 2010 also empower the ministry to employ public servants with rare specialization or skills, who have attained retirement age, on short-term renewable contracts. So, aging doctors could be given two-year contracts in order to sort out any needs for specialized services.   

Another reason why this proposal is tainted is that we have had cases where soon-to-retire public servants have sworn affidavits varying their ages – saying they had since discovered that information relating to their ages was not accurate.

They blamed this on the fact that many of them were not born in hospitals where medical records were kept. They also claimed their guardians or parents were illiterate and did not put much emphasis on their dates of birth.

But this dodgy creativity of the claimants was mainly motivated by the apparent fear of the unknown after retirement. It appears then, that the Public Service ministry wants to come to the aid of such categories of people in proposing to revise the retirement age upwards.

Very few public servants look forward to retirement. Why? Because retirement means to stop working for a living. President Museveni once blamed youth unemployment on the success of immunization, implying that in the past many children died in infancy.

It appears the Public Service ministry had not realized that there are many young qualified individuals completing school and ought to replace the old people.

Public servants don’t need to amend their dates of birth; they ought to retire to give younger people greater opportunities for employment. In an age when people are living longer and technology is displacing more and more workers, the attitude of Public Service should not be to revise the retirement age upwards.

The mindset that specialists are only useful while hanging onto offices, should be demolished. By contrast, doctors, judges and teachers can contribute and still be useful to their fields after retirement.