What is supposed to be a spiritual journey, has become mixed with practices that, according to traditionalists, are against the genesis of a long history of pilgrimage in the true religion. Traditionally, the journey of pilgrimage is supposed to come with sacrifices like hunger, pain, exhaustion and enduring extreme weather conditions, among others.
Although Rev Lubega never disclosed details of the report from NWSC, he says that they are going to treat the water. “We are working with national water to ensure that the water is treated with reagents,” he told this reporter decrying the criticism surrounding Namugongo ‘holy water’ saying it fueled by people with bias on the matter.
The Catholic Shrines Rector Rev Fr Vincent Lubega notes that they have found it important to run quality tests to ensure that pilgrims don’t consume contaminated water. He adds test sample have already been taken by a team of experts from National Water and Sewerage Cooperation-NWSC.
Michael Lakony, the Amuru LC V chairperson has condemned the clashes and called upon his colleagues in Adjumani to intervene and resolve the crisis between the two communities. The Madi and Acholi have been fighting over a disputed piece of land Apaa bordering the two districts for some time.
Thousands of faithfuls have been arriving at the Martyrs shrines over the last two weeks, after trekking hundreds of miles in the journey of faith. The commemoration of the day is supposed to give inspiration and enhance Christian belief.
Two teenage children from Lira Catholic Diocese have walked to Namungongo Martyrs Shrine to pray to God, through the martyrs, to guide them through their education. Gloria Ayao has a single parent who has no money to pay her tuition. She wants to become a nun. Flavia Ejang lost both parents while still a toddler. Raised by her grandmother, she wants to become a teacher.
The Uganda Muslim Supreme Council UMSC has yet again called upon all Muslims to start recognising the deaths of all the Muslim martyrs that were killed by Kabaka Mutesa I by offering prayers for them. It is believed that more than 74 Muslims were killed between 1874 and 1876 by Mutesa I of Buganda. Historians, however, documented mainly the Christian martyrs killed between 1885 and 1887 by Muteesas son and successor as Kabaka, Basamula-Ekkere Mwanga.
President Yoweri Museveni has said that Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and the Uganda Martyrs are uniting East Africa. Museveni says many pilgrims who trek from different East African countries to Namugongo Shrine to commemorate the Uganda Martyrs Day and Julius Nyerere Day represent a true meeting of the regions ordinary citizen.
Apart from the monument at the Martyr Museum, no other monument has been erected in the country in honor of Kalala. A total of 43 Anglican and Catholic Uganda martyrs were killed by King Mwanga II between January 27 and 31, 1885.
Pilgrims from Kanungu district, who are among the first to arrive at Namugongo this week, have recounted their 13-day-journey, sharing stories of faith, perseverance and dedication. The pilgrims, comprising of 17 men and 30 women, walked the 450km journey to attend this years Uganda Martyrs Day celebrations. The journey started at 3am on May 16 at Makiro Deanery in Kanungu town council and climaxed at 7pm on Monday, May 30 at Namungongo Shrine.
Namugongo Martyrs Shrine Rector Fr Vincent Lubega told Uganda Radio Network that over 300 pilgrims had been registered by yesterday evening. The pilgrims were from Malawi, Congo, Pakwach, Mbarara Diocese, Kabale Diocese, Kasese Diocese and Hoima Diocese. He says over two million pilgrims are expected to attend this years martyrs celebrations.
Today we celebrate Christian heroism of the Martyrs because they refused to disown God, preferring to die rather than deny their faith. The Uganda Martyrs are revered for their faith, their courage, and their counter cultural witness to Christ. It is believed that Uganda now has the largest percentage of professed Christians than any nation in Africa.
Retired Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo who is spearheading the construction works noted that the church had so far spent 3.7billion Shillings on the Museum and required more money to complete its first phase.