The Katikkiro of Buganda Ow’ekitiibwa Charles Peter Mayiga has officially unveiled the Muteesa II Museum as part of efforts by Makerere University to honor and immortalise Sir Edward Muteesa II in perpetuity. Sir Edward Muteesa II, the 35th Kabaka of Buganda and first President of the post-Independence Republic of Uganda was a student of Literature at Makerere University from 1943 to 1945. Quarry House No. 95 was constructed in 1944 as a befitting on-campus private residence of Ssekabaka Muteesa II, his official palace being only a few kilometers away in Mengo.
Following a guided tour of the Museum, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs), Assoc. Prof. Umar Kakumba welcomed Katikkiro, an alumnus and former resident of University Hall back to his alma mater. Katikkiro Mayiga was accompanied by the Second Deputy Katikkiro and Buganda Minister of Finance and Economic Planning-Owek. Robert Waggwa Nsibirwa and the Chairman of Buganda Twezimbe Committee-Omukungu John Fredrick Kiyimba.
In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor thanked the Katikkiro for readily responding to the call to support the establishment of Muteesa II Museum as part of the Greater Makerere University Museum. “In this museum, Makerere University will celebrate the life and times of Ssekabaka Muteesa II, an alumnus, Ugandan Nationalist, Pan-Africanist and one of the founding fathers of modern Uganda.”
“We are proud that we have been able to preserve this house in its original state. I thank the University Council for approving this renovation and colleagues in Management and the Estates and Works Directorate in particular for working hard to restore the building” added the Vice-Chancellor.
Prof. Nawangwe further commended the Makerere University Museum Committee for collecting valuable materials about Ssekabaka Muteesa II. “As Makerere University, we will do all that is necessary to ensure that this Museum satisfactorily completed and that it becomes a landmark for our University and Country through which we shall remember the life and works of Ssekabaka Muteesa II.”
Speaking on behalf of the Makerere University Museum Committee, the Assistant Chairperson, Assoc. Prof. Kizito Maria Kasule noted that the establishment of the Muteesa II Museum marks the beginning of the rigorous process of researching into the legacy of Ssekabaka Muteesa II, especially as Kabaka and President.
“For example, he is remembered as the first President in post-Independence Africa to donate his salary to the development of Karamoja region, which by the time of our independence had been neglected by the colonial establishment” remarked Assoc. Prof. Kasule.
He added that museums today are required to be living institutions that are relevant to not only the present but also future generations. “Muteesa II Museum will not only honour the memories and life of Ssekabaka Muteesa II but will also turn those memories into living realities from which the present generation will be inspired to find solutions to emerging national and global challenges.”
Katikkiro Mayiga applauded the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe for being an instrumental figure in the renovation of the Muteesa II House. He was equally glad that the restoration maintained its original beauty and respected its original architecture; a demonstration of Prof. Nawangwe’s good sense of history. “It is perfect that the renovation is in line with maintaining the tradition of Sir Edward Muteesa II, the student and Kabaka of the times. All great academic institutions should jealously guard their historic landmarks.”
“The hearts of academic institutions are the academic exploits and achievements they make. However, the character and soul of these institutions are its historic landmarks and the kind of personalities that have walked through their gates. As Makerereans you should be very proud that the alumni of this University have made great contributions to humanity through the ages” expounded Katikkiro Mayiga
Owek. Mayiga further said that good sense history is an essential precursor for a good understanding of the present and solid preparation for the future. “So to renovate Muteesa’s residence is to acknowledge and preserve history for Makerere, the Kingdom of Buganda and for Uganda.”
Katikkiro Mayiga reminisced that the Kingdom of Buganda made a significant contribution to Makerere‘s founding. Owek. Martin Luther Nsibirwa the Katikkiro then played a key role in the allocation of land on which the University stands today and it was a privilege to have his grandson, Owek. Waggwa Nsibirwa present at the unveiling ceremony. “So we should together preserve the heritage between the Kingdom of Buganda and Makerere,” emphasised Katikkiro Mayiga.
He paid tribute to the Museum Committee and all eminent persons that had made significant contributions to the restoration of Muteesa II House and thereafter presented a cheque of UGX 70 Million on behalf of the Buganda Kingdom. In addition to the Assistant Chairperson, other Members of the Makerere University Museum Committee present and recognised were; Assoc. Prof. George William Kyeyune-Chairperson, Prof. Phillip Kwesiga, Mr. Joseph Ssematimba, Dr. Rita Nabuyungo, and Ms. Ritah Namisango.
The Vice-Chancellor presented a plaque and an art piece to the Katikkiro in appreciation of the contribution by Buganda Kingdom towards the Muteesa II Museum project. In addition to the gallery, artifacts such as three statues capturing the life of Ssekabaka Muteesa II as Kabaka, President, and a Makererean will be erected in the Museum gardens.