The speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has lashed out at some of the Anglican bishops who failed to turn up at the Bishop James Hannington prayer service held in Mayuge district recently.
Kadaga who was presiding over this year’s celebration at the martyrdom site on Tuesday said she was disappointed that the Ugandan clergy hold the day in low esteem, yet the day is highly observed in Canterbury, the headquarters of the Church of England.
“Today is a special day [Bishop Hannington feast day] in Canterbury; October 29, the Anglican faith hold special prayers in remembrance of Bishop Hannington but people here take this day as a joke yet Bishop Hannington is the first martyr in Uganda,” the visibly irritated Kadaga told worshippers amid cheers.
Kadaga without mincing words explained that she has been invited several times by the Anglican clergy in different parts of the country and has made it a point of being there only to realize that when events happen in her neighbourhood, the same people don’t appear.
“Another thing, this day is as if it’s a Kyando affair only; I’m not seeing the Bishop of Kigezi, Bishop of Gulu, Bishop of Mbale and Bishop of Ankole why are they not here?… Meaning this is none of their business and they are not concerned, how?” she wondered.
Kadaga added; “You will provoke me and I will stop officiating at your functions. I go to Luweero, Nakasongola, Ankole, Kitgum why are they (bishops) not here? Just one day in a year to be here… tell them I will stop attending their functions.”
Bishop Hannington, the first martyr in Uganda, was killed in 1885 alongside 48 of his 50 pages who were speared and stoned to death at present-day Kyando village in Mayuge district. Speaking in her local dialect, Kadaga was also concerned that despite October 29, being declared a public holiday last year by President Yoweri Museveni, it has not yet been gazetted.
“His Grace I’m not happy, last year we were here and the president according to what the Church had explained to him, he decided to make this day a public holiday, the following day I met him and we agreed to work on the modalities."
Kadaga explained that she talked to the officials from ministry of Public Service and followed the discussion with a reminder in writing but nothing has been done to that effect. She instructed Aggrey Bagiire, the state minister of Works to follow up with the matter.
“This this is not a joking matter, I’m going to call the president and inform him that his directive was erased … we can’t go on like this, also Uganda Tourism Board’s (UTB) should take lead in preparations” she said.
Daudi Migereko UTB chairperson said this occasion should help increase the locals and country’s income; he urged the district officials to mobilize the people so that they can s do business during the celebrations.
“While Uganda would be benefitting from the religious tourism activities here, the locals should also take something home; we are not going to wait for international investors to come, invest and benefit alone but we are mobilizing that people also invest here, Kadaga’s issue is clear that UTB should take the lead role,” he said.