Government will not change the National Anthem as there is no urgent need, Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi said on Wednesday.
The statement by the leader of government business in Parliament will hopefully put to rest two weeks of public disquiet after a minister revealed last month that government had agreed to spend about $75,000 (Shs180m) to change the anthem as a way of boosting tourism.
Mr Mbabazi told the afternoon House session “nothing of the sort would happen”.
“All you are hearing in the media is not true. The national anthem is not being changed. There is no such consideration whatsoever to change the anthem,” said the premier. “And if ever such an idea came up,” he said, “we would discuss it in all appropriate organs of government and come to Parliament so that if there are changes, we would all own it.”
He was responding to concerns raised by Bulamogi MP Kenneth Lubogo who demanded a clarification from government on whether it was in the process of changing the
National Anthem and in whose interest this was.
“It is alleged that the ministry of Tourism is championing this to boost tourism. Where is the demand? Let the minister of Tourism come and explain to us,” he said.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga called Mr Lubogo’s concern an “important matter” before telling the front bench: “We need to know who you agreed with before you reached such a decision to amend the National Anthem.”
Mr Mbabazi’s intervention comes days after the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Ms Maria Mutagamba, announced a plan to include a verse on tourism in the anthem because of its contribution to the country’s economy.
Ms Mutagamba had told a media briefing that government had decided to use music and entertainment as part of efforts to boost Uganda’s tourism industry.
Part of that plan would involve modernising the National Anthem, she said.
She revealed that the project required about $75,000 (Shs180m) and would be spearheaded by the acclaimed thespian Alex Mukulu .
But the proposal has been received with criticism from sections of the public who advised government against lavish expenditures yet there were other critical issues that needed urgent attention.
Others pointed out that changing the National Anthem would not boost tourism in any way and that energies would be better spent in the fight against widespread corruption, improving social service delivery, particularly health and education.
Democratic Party last week asked government to translate the anthem into local languages instead of redoing it.
What ms mutagamba told journalists recently
In a fresh crack at boosting Uganda’s tourism industry, government has resolved to amend the country’s National Anthem. Addressing journalists at the Uganda Media Centre, the Minister for Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities, Maria Mutagamba, said government would embark on a project to improve and modernise the National Anthem.
“This project of the National Anthem is for us Ugandans to appreciate the message in the anthem, we are not changing it but want to put the words in action, in drama, in acting, so that people associate themselves with it,” she said. “We want someone to produce something visual so that when you sing the National Anthem, you can see yourself being part of it not just reciting a song,” she said.