There has been a quest for an independent Ministry of Arts and Culture amongst Ugandan artistes. This campaign that has gone on for over two years now has seen artistes argue, including in a petition to the President that following the disbandment of the Ministry of Culture and Community Development in 1993, government approach to arts development has been lukewarm.
This discussion has been before cabinet for a decision on whether or not to create a separate ministry bringing all culture mandate under one roof. With this background, whispers in the corridors of power have revealed that the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities appears to be a strong contender seeking the department of Culture currently under the Ministry of Gender to be reunited with its kin, the department of Antiquities which is responsible for the Uganda Museum.
Culture is an increasingly important element of Tourism as it creates distinctiveness in a crowded global marketplace. Additionally, Culture and Tourism have a mutually beneficial relationship which can strengthen the attractiveness and competitiveness of places, regions and countries.
Other African countries that have the aspect of culture and tourism under one docket include Nigeria and Ghana with Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and National Orientation and Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts respectively among others.
It should be noted that currently, the Arts, Culture and Creative sector in Uganda currently falls under the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development. According to artistes, their concerns are not given priority under this ministry and this has in the long run deprived their sector of business and investment opportunities!
If it all goes as seems to be, the big question that remains is, will the shifting of Culture from the Gender ministry to the Tourism ministry play in favor of the Arts and Cultural sector? or the Sector needs a fully independent Ministry to oversee cultural and creative industry development programmes that are currently scattered in different ministries?