The renaming of key streets and roads in Fort Portal has attracted criticisms from locals in the municipality.
Last month, South Division council unanimously passed a resolution to rename streets and roads in the municipality. Some of the renamed roads include Lugard Road, in the centre of Fort Portal. Lugard, a British soldier, was a military administrator of Uganda from 1890 to May 1892.
One section of Lugard road was renamed John Sanyu Katuramu Road, while another section was also renamed Patrick Lucky Road.
Katuramu is the former Tooro Kingdom Premier currently in Luzira Prisons after he was sentenced to death for masterminding the death of Prince Charles Happy Kijanagoma in 1999. Patrick Lucky, on the other hand, was the proprietor of Kalita Transporters who died three months ago.
Other streets that were renamed are Rukidi, renamed Nyakatura in memory of the late former Tooro kingdom premier, William Nyakatuura, who died three months ago. Rukidi Street was named after the former King of Tooro, Sir George Edward Rukidi III.
Moldina road was renamed Patrick Kyaligonza Street in memory of the Bishop of Ruwenzori who was killed three years ago in a road accident in Kyenjojo district. Moldina was a prominent Asian businessman in Fort Portal.
The renaming of the roads and streets has attracted criticisms from some residents who have accused the authorities of illegally renaming the streets and wiping away history.
Steven Baguma, a resident of Fort Portal says that the historical roads shouldn’t have been renamed because some of the roads like Lugard have been attracting British tourists who wanted to see the road named after the man who introduced British rule in colonial Africa in the late 19th century.
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Richard Tooro, the LC1 Chairperson Moldina Street, told Uganda Radio Network that the residents and owners of the businesses weren’t consulted by South Division authorities. He says that the authorities shouldn’t rename the existing roads, but open new roads and name them after the individuals.
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Olive Busobozi, a land lady on Rukidi Street, says that since the roads have been renamed, they will be forced to change the land titles and include the new names, which is costly and time consuming.
She says that the renaming of Rukidi Street shows lack of respect for the Kingdom and the family of late King Rukidi who developed the kingdom in his 37-year reign from January 1928 to December 1965.
In a telephone interview, Edward Lwanga, the Town Clerk Fort Portal, said that the renaming was done illegally. He says that the division has no right to rename roads but instead propose to the Municipal Council which in turn will present the proposal to the municipal councilors.
However Herbert Mugisa, the LC3 chairperson for South Division, who chaired the meeting that resolved to rename the roads, defended the action. Mugisa says that it was a sign of appreciation for the work done by some individuals.
Mugisa cites Katuramu, whom he says provided employment and offered bursaries to the needy in Fort Portal.