PHOTOS: Museveni Preaches Unity, Tolerance at Uganda Martyrs' day


malady geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 150%;”>While officiating at this year’s Martyrs day celebrations at the Namugongo Shrine on Tuesday, pharm Museveni said believers ought to take up the mantle of developing Uganda in the way Christians had built the Untied States of America.

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Thousands of pilgrims flocked to the Uganda Martyrs’ Shrine in Namugongo to celebrate the lives of Christian converts killed by former Buganda King, Kabaka Mwanga in the late 1880s.

“USA, the most powerful nation in the world was built, modernized and enriched by Christians and African through slave labor. I therefore call upon Christians to do something similar in this part of the world,” said the president.

Museveni said that believers especially in rural areas in Uganda have not done enough in transforming their economic lives especially through modern agriculture.

Pilgrims walking to Namugongo on Tuesday

“I have talked to the bishops of Uganda; I know all these villages and parishes: Every time I go to a government parish [omuruka], I ask how many homesteads are here in this parish and how many have undertaken commercial farming. What’s amazing is that you find one or two, the rest are engaged in subsistence farming.”

Meanwhile, at the celebrations which were headed by Kotido Archdiocese, Museveni assured the country that there would be lasting peace and stability, despite of the few concerns especially about security threats.

Speaking to the foreign pilgrims who made it to the shrine from all the neighboring countries, Museveni said Uganda remains a secure country with doors open to everybody who wants may it home.

“We would like to assure our brothers and sisters in the region that Uganda is peaceful, you can come here any time.”

Police was tight at Uganda Martyrs’ Day celebrations

He also promised the church of government’s continued support especially in the rebuilding and refurbishment of the Uganda Martyrs’ shrine.

“This day doesn’t belong to the church alone, but to Uganda and Africa as a whole,” he said.

“You should therefore not carry this burden alone, we are behind you and we are going to support you in a bigger way.”

Counter Terrorism personnel keeping a close eye on Namugongo town

Several church leaders preached the gospel of love and unity at a function attended b thousands of people from all walks of life.

Hundreds of suspected criminals were arrested as part of a wider operation to maintain normalcy during today’s celebrations.

The 22 African Roman Catholic martyrs were collectively beatified by Pope Benedict XV in 1920 and canonized by Pope Paul VI on October 18, 1964. Their feast day is June 3.

The first Roman Catholic missions to Bantu-speaking Africa were established by the White Fathers Mission in 1879.

Christians were tolerated by the kabaka Mutesa I, but his successor, Mwanga, launched a campaign against them. Mwanga killed the Anglican missionary bishop James Hannington and his colleagues in October 1885.

Police bomb squad is in place to respond to any terrorism threats.

Thousands throned Namugongo to remember the lives of Uganda Martyrs

St. Joseph Mukasa, an important member of the royal household, reproached the kabaka for the massacre, and, on November 15 of that year, Mwanga had Joseph beheaded.

The Christian pages under Joseph’s guidance became the next victims. Mwanga, having learned that they had received religious instruction from the page St. Denis Ssebuggwawo, ordered that all the youths be arrested.

St. Charles Lwanga, Mukasa’s successor, then secretly baptized those boys who had only been catechumens.

The following day they were herded away to the village of Namugongo. Three of them were murdered en route (St. Pontian Ngondwe, a soldier, and the royal servants Athanasius Bazzekuketta and Gonzaga Gonza).

All the survivors, as recorded by Father Lourdel, superior of the Roman Catholic mission to Uganda, were imprisoned for a week.

With the exception of St. Mbaga-Tuzinde, who was bludgeoned by his own father, the pages were burned alive on June 3, 1886: Saints Ambrose Kibuka, Anatole Kiriggwajjo, Achilles Kiwanuka, Mugagga, Mukasa Kiriwawanvu, Adolphus Mukasa Ludigo, Gyavira, and Kizito.

The soldiers and officials Saints Bruno Serunkuma, James Buzabaliawo, and Luke Banabakintu were martyred with them.

Mwanga continued his persecution, destroying Protestant and Roman Catholic missionaries alike. Subsequent victims included Saints Matthias Mulumba, assistant judge to a provincial chief; Andrew Kaggwa, chief of Kigowa; and Noe Mawaggali, a Roman Catholic leader. The page St. Jean Marie Muzeyi was beheaded on January 27, 1887.


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