How the 2009 Namugongo Martyrs Day went

Summary: THE 123rd anniversary of the execution of the workers/pages at Mwanga’s Court took place at the two shrines as is always the case. On the Cathoric side, it was hosted by KABALE Dioscese while on the Protestant side, it was Mukono Dioscese in charge.
1/4. Traditionally, there is no change in routine save for the language of the songs, which will be Alur when Nebbi is in chrge and Ruchiga , as today, when Kabale is in chrge, with a colouring og Kichiga dance by Mbabazi of Temangalo fame with his tormentor Banyanzakyi jining him to stamp the ground (Hmmmm).
2/4. DIFFERENT APPROACHES: While at the Anglican site [further to the East of the Catholic site] the occasion is marked with sorrow and the Martyrs; anthem [BEEWAYO…] is the song to be heard (the Namirembe Boys’ Choir not missing), there is full choir and the event is highly choriographed, even as a “harvest presents” occasion.
3/4. The debate on wheather these boys were matryrs or traitors of K ing and Country contiunes to be discussed in the press on this occasion. Colour was added last year or so when the Mukajanga lineage went to namirember and delivered a “letter of apology” to Bp. Ssekade for their “grand-fathers’ attrocities”. But today, in the opposite vain, the care-taker of Mukajanga’s grave took tourists around with new bark-cloth desplayed above the body in the mausoleum [Hmmmm]. “He was a great “OMUMBOOWA” (Royal Guard)” the tourists were told. (Confusing like two people seeing the same cow, one says it is white while the other says it is black. This is the World).
4/4. Other notable things on today’s occasion:
  • M7 was present. In his address, he paraphrased the Kabaka who, in a recent speech, called for his people to “talk less and work more“.
  • For the first time may be in 10 years [from1999 when Besigye wrote his anti-establishment letter], M7 and the Colonel sat in the same tent and to the surprise on many, Dr. KB did not march out, this time around (he has done so not once, e.g. at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Mbale). He sat side-by-side with Ssebana Kizito, the DP suprimo: (will they unite from now hence-forward??).
  • Ms SARA EPERU of FDC and another were put in Police custody for distributing FDC “martyrs sympathy cards”.
  • 100 pick-pockets and petty thieves were apprehended.
  • In Tooro, at ythe birth-place of one of the martyrs, people gathered and went into inexplicable trances (un-catholic like, one would think).
  • The “kasikyi” (eve) of martyrs’ day was celebrated on the streets of Namugongo, Kireka, Kiira and Kyaliwajala settlements/towns and other surrounding areas such that, during the day most of the pilgrims, even those from Kenya, Rwanda and Sudan who HAD FOOTED FOR WEEKS TO PARTICIPATE, slept/dozed the ceremony out. Business boomed, especially in meat-snacks {roast} and in drinks. That is NAMUGONGO on Martyrs’ day for you.

Christopher Muwanga,





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