The destruction of the Kasubi Tombs World Heritage site left many sharing the grief of the lost heritage of Baganda, Bakiga, Teso, and Acholi. From the tourism industry, it was a similar story. Fresh from marketing Uganda at international tourism fairs and through press trips and promotions, tour operators who had packaged Kasubi on the Kampala City tour circuit are now grappling over how to repackage the city tour without the Kasubi Tombs.
It is not the first time such wanton destruction befell mankind. The second World War was the latest of wars that left many a city in Europe reduced to rubble. Castles in baroque and gothic architecture have since been restored from London, Naples, and Berlin to Vienna and are now attracting bus loads of coach tours from all over the world. Europe learned their lesson and rose out of the rubble.
Similarly, the Baganda kings worked hard to set this legacy. It, therefore, remains the responsibility of the caretakers to learn from this tragedy, not glee or policitize the tragedy. All earnings from entrance fees and sales of souvenirs were simply stashed by a few caretakers without regard to maintenance of the other Buganda Heritage sites – Wamala Tombs, Bagalayaze, Budo Katereke, and Sezibwa Falls remain derelict.
Heritage trails and the Uganda Community Tourism Association that were instrumental in developing the Kabakas Trail, which allows visits to Bugandas forgotten history, dance, and culture, have made an effort to restore these sites only to be sneered upon by the Nalinya of Kasubi.
The Kasubi Tombs World Heritage site MUST be rebuilt to its former glory, with the UNESCO experts restoring or remodeling replicas of what was destroyed, otherwise the night of 16th when the site was destroyed will just be a forgotten chapter in the history of Buganda.
This time strict rules regarding safety and security should be applied and technical assistance must be embraced. Sprinkler systems, no flamabbles, fire proofing for the grass, and surveillance and alarm systems are needed.
Meanwhile, the tour operators should maintain Kasubi on the city tour this time around, with contributions going direct to restoration and maintenance of the Nalinya and the royal household.