By John Agaba and Simon Masaba
IT IS exactly seven days left to commemorate the day Kabaka Mwanga put to death majority of the 23 Anglican and 22 Catholic converts, now Uganda Martyrs, in 1886, and preparations at the Martyrs’ Basilica in Namugongo to mark this religious day, are in high gear.
Walkways are being demarcated. Pavements painted. Tents erected. And the grass trimmed neat.
“We are doing the final touches. We want come June 2 to be ready. We are improving on the lighting, and the sound,” Rev Fr. Emmanuel Kimbowa, the Basilica’s rector, said.
And for the tens of thousands of pilgrims expected to grace the function, the priest, promised security. He said they have held three meetings with the Police. And that security will be tight.
Technician Samuel Ssempogo fixing flood lights as renovations for the forthcoming Uganda Martyrs' Day celebrations gather steam. Photo by Juliet Lukwago
Rector of Uganda Martyrs Basilica Namugongo, Fr Dr Emmanuel Kimbowa shows the sh47m toilet project built on the premises. Photo by Juliet Lukwago
“They (police) are supposed to deploy today (Monday),” Kimbowa said.
Nonetheless, security measures at the Basilica have already been toughened. You cannot access the Shrine, beneath which Charles Lwanga, one of the 22 was murdered, or its holy grounds, without going through security checks.
There are security men, and some in plain clothes, at the holy grounds’ main gate, that will subject you to thorough checks before you can gain entry.
The police on Tuesday also cautioned parents against carrying minors along to the celebrations to avert cases of children getting lost.
Patrick Onyango, the Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson, sounded the warning.