19u POPE 23 a


The Uganda Martyrs

For many decades, thousands of people throng Namugongo on every 3rd June from near and far but all these years the site has been degenerating without much value added to it each year to make it attractive or to honour the acts of the brave people who sacrificed their lives for the sake of Christian faith and to build a strong picture of the road to martyrdom. Much was therefore had to be done to bring life back to Namugongo Martyrs shrine and many ideas came up. One of the ideas was to construct a museum.

The concept of the museum project was initiated by the Rtd. Archbishop Dr. Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo. He discussed the project idea with several people including Mr. Ezekiel B. Luggya-Lwasi and Mr. David Nakabale Kato and others who gave him overwhelming support. The idea was presented to the Bishop of Namirembe Diocese, The Rt. Rev. Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira, to Namugongo Development Committee, to the Archbishop of the Province of the Church of Uganda His Grace Stanley Ntagari and the house of Bishops and every one welcomed the idea. Soon a select committee was put in place to develop the Museum idea into a more tangible form.

Because of the great concern and the present conditions in which Uganda Martyrs Shrine at Namugongo is, the Province of the Churrch of Uganda decided to come out to fully surpport the Museum idea to change the face of the whole of Uganda Martyrs Church Namugongo. The construction of a museum will be in remembrance and celebration of the brave acts of the Uganda Martyrs and also show the rich cultural history of Uganda. Over 45 people, Protestant, Catholics and Muslims were killed in various places including Namugongo because they rebelled against the orders of Kabaka Mwanga not to follow the whites.

It is a known fact that religious influences were so entrenched in the socio-political fabric of Buganda during the rule of Kabaka Mutesa who invited the Christian. However it was different for his son Kabaka Mwanga who successed him. He perceived religion as a threat to his political authority and he chose to exterminate the missionary converts and between 1895 and 1896 a large massacre of Christian converts occurred at Namugongo and a few were murdered in various places. The converts who were killed have since then been recognised for their courage and martyrdom and ever since, 3rd June has been gazetted as a public holiday in Uganda. On this day, thousands of believers in Uganda and in the Diaspora converge at Namugongo in remembrance of the courage shown by the martyrs and also their visit help them to recommit to their faith.