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Hundreds of thousands attend Martyrs Day celebrations

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims have converged at the Catholic Martyrs shrine in Namugongo to celebrate this year’s Uganda Martyrs’ Day animated by Gulu Archdiocese.    

By 6am, thousands were seen queuing from as far as Kyaliwajjala township while many others were seen trekking from different routes leading to the shrine. Most routes are being manned by a ring of joint security team.    

As multitudes continue to press to enter the shrine, hundreds are wading through the large crowds to find their way out of the shrine. The situation is less similar to the one at the Anglican shrine at Nakiyanja.    

According to the organisers, more than 5,000 foreign pilgrims from around the world have attended the celebrations. Some are from the USA, the Common Market for East and Southern Africa, South Africa Development Community and the European Union amongst others.     

At the Catholic shrine, the Eucharistic celebration is led by the Rev Dr John Baptist Odama, the archbishop of Gulu. At the Anglican shrine, the service is presided over by the Archbishop of Uganda Stanley Ntagali while the archbishop of Kenya Jackson Ole Sapit is the main preacher. 

There is display of cultural diversity and heritage at the two shrines with many wearing their cultural attires and ornaments – all in unison to pay homage to the Uganda Martyrs.     

The Uganda Martyrs is a group of about 45 young Christian converts killed for their faith between the 1885 and 1887 on the orders of Kabaka Daniel Basamulaekere Mwanga II of Buganda kingdom. The king took offense in the conversion of his servants by the missionaries and ordered that they be exterminated.  


On the sidelines, business people at Namugongo say that the day has started on a promising note as pilgrims make early purchases for different products.  

As at 10 a.m mass had started and most of the pilgrims were still held up in the queues trying to enter the church compound. Some people who have failed to get their way around the huge queues decided to use informal paths from the Kyaliwajjala junction.  

Some shrewd boys have taken advantage of them and charging between Shs 500 and 1,000 for one to gain your way through. Tens of people are paying. However, those that had lost hope of entering decided to resort to quick purchases.  

Perhaps because of the walking, people selling drinks and fruits like watermelon are having the best of the day.  Peterson Walugembe, a fruit seller is cutting slices of 1,000 a piece of watermelon. "It is God who changes the day but it has started well. Yesterday's was better because it was hotter," he said.  

A slow start was observed among restaurant owners. Many employed waitresses to call people to their eateries but most of their tents remained empty. They are waiting for lunch hour to count their blessings. It is also not yet blissful for pork sellers.  

Meanwhile, the producers of polythene bags are using public speakers outside to inform the congregation that the use of kaveera was not banned in Namugongo - contrary to the church's pronouncements that there will be no kaveera in Namugongo.  

"You can still use kaveera of 30 microns and above which can be recycled," runs announcements sponsored by the producer’s association. "We employ 60,000 people," it stresses.


0 #1 Webz 2019-06-03 15:02
Cultural leaders, call them Kabaka, Omugabe, Kyabazinga, Omukama etc reaped a great curse as a result of killing God's people. In addition to antagonizing Christians, the kings traded their subjects as slaves for arm ornaments, rugabire, mirrors and later for arms.

Cultural institutions practiced magic, sorcery, defilement and a host of other misdeeds against humanity. God forbid that such institutions will shine again in a predominantly Christian Uganda.
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0 #2 kabayekka 2019-06-03 15:54
Webz I think you are loosing it. What is happening in Namugongo is that hope of humanity to have been allowed to worship any religion man or woman feels gives him or her that spiritual needs in their daily lives.

Currently the rule of tyranny continue to go on in Arabic countries and on the African continent unabated.

Those Ancient kingdoms that accepted change to come as the Ganda Kingdom did have the last laugh in advanced human civilization.
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0 #3 kabayekka 2019-06-03 16:04
All the various African tribes and nationalities to want to bring all their religious happiness to this Namugongo celebration is hypocrisy of the highest order.

If Mrs Nyerere feels that her husband should be remembered as an African catholic martyr she has all the power to lobby the government of Tanzania to put up a great shrine and a great public holiday in that country.

One hopes that the Acholi Christians who have been suffering a war to force them to worship the 10 commandments under the barrel of the gun, can also put up a great religious shrine in Acholi land so that they can celebrate their current acquired freedom of religious worship.
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0 #4 Kent Mawa 2019-06-03 16:44
Wbez m yours is half the story.

The other half is that if it wasn`t for the Cultural leaders , particulary the Kabaka Of Buganda Kingdom , Uganda would have never become the predominantly christian country you are looking at today.

We should never forget that Arab / Turks had entered African from all sides with the aim of spreaing Arabic Imperialism thinly disguised as Islam-like it is in Sudan

Mutesa 1 was the only monarch in Africa to have deliberately "invited" christian missionaries to come and "educate " his people. That action also halted the Arabic invasion of Uganda and Rwanda Burundi

True , Mwanga ordered the killing of the martyrs ; but he personally vacated his Palace and offered it to the christian missionaries .

The fist school and Church in Uganda was built in Villa Maria in Masaka on land that donated by the Kabaka.
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0 #5 Kent Mawa 2019-06-03 17:03
Webz says that Kings traded their subjects as slaves for ornaments etc etc.

Today`s so called Presidents are doing worse .

Chinese are taking away our sand , our wealty , destrying our enviroment .but what do today`s presidents doing about that ?

Arab agents , are earning lots of Money Selling our gails and women to Arabs . The Girls get raped , killed , their body parts removed and sold off to Arabs . What is today`s presidents doing about that ?

Teacher , police men/ women , doctotors and nurses are shamelessly underpaid . The Health sector has collapsed ; yet today`s presidents are more interested in mordern "ornaments" such as fighter jets and the most expensive presidential cars on market.

The King of Sweden , a country which manifactures cars , goes around in a convoy of 3 cars. The Prime Minister does not even own a personal car . He is driven in an Audi 1.6-

Compare that with Museveni`s convoy
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0 #6 rubangakene 2019-06-03 22:10
Kent Mawa,

You have really hit the right nail; you see it is the dictators who make martyrs and other dictators turn around to take advantage of the situation, well pointed out!
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