By Kavuma - Kaggwa
I am writing to thank President Yoweri Museveni for officiating at this Year’s Heroes’ Day (June 9, 2014) and to thank the people of Uganda who turned out in thousands to celebrate this great day in the history of Uganda.
Heroes’ Day is of great importance especially in Buganda because those bush fighters in the Luwero liberation war were the ones who spearheaded the restoration of the Buganda Kingdom and the Buganda Lukiiko.
The people in Buganda are extremely happy with their original institutions which are now in place.
It is now evident that people everywhere in the country are happy with peace and tranquility prevailing in the country and there are clear signs of economic development. The tyrannical regimes were wiped out and they are gone forever.
The list of Heroes should by all means be extended to cover Ugandans of a long time ago because of what they did to civilise, build and develop this country to the level where we found it.
I start with the famous Buganda King, Mutesa I, who invited Christian Missionaries in 1875 to come and educate Ugandans. We have seen the extremely good results of that, since the arrival here of the white missionaries from Europe.
We should remember three other great men; Sir Apolo Kaggwa, Stanslaus Mugwanya and Zakaria Kitaka Kisingiri who made the 1900 Agreement with the British Government when Sekabaka Sir Daudi Chwa II was still young.
This country Uganda is standing on the strong pillars of the 1900 Uganda Agreement. They worked closely with Bishop Hanlon of the Mill Hill Fathers who came here in 1895.
He advised them to accept British Protectorate not a colony because Buganda was an Independent Nation. Bishop Hanlon was a signatory on the 1900 Agreement.
Bishop Hanlon who came from the Mill Hill Mission in England built Namilyango College in 1902 to educate the Catholic Princes of Buganda, Bunyoro, Toro and other Kingdoms.
Kabaka Mwanga gave him Nsambya Hill as his base and from there he established Catholicism throughout Eastern Buganda, Eastern Uganda and the whole of Kenya up to Mombasa.
We have to remember another Catholic Missionary, Father Simeon Lourdel who was the first Catholic to arrive here on February 17, 1879.
Sekabaka Mutesa I vacated Rubaga Hill and gave it to him. Through the original conversation with him, Mutesa named Father Simeon Lourdel, “Mapeera” a name which is now famous everywhere in Uganda.
We should remember as a Hero Archbishop Joseph Kiwanuka, who was the first Bishop in Africa and was ordained in 1939 at the Vatican by Pope Pius the 12th. Archbishop Kiwanuka built so many schools in the greater region of Masaka.
We should remember Bishop Alexander Mackay of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) who was the first Christian Missionary to arrive here in 1877.
Bishop Mackay together with Sir Apolo Kaggwa and other first Baganda Christians established the Native Anglican Church (NAC) which was a local church and it built all the Anglican Missions and schools the most famous being King’s College Budo, Gayaza High School, Bishop School Mukono and Busoga College Mwiri and many others.
We should also remember Bishop Tucker who was very instrumental in the building of Bishop Tucker Theological College, Mukono which is now Uganda Christian University.
We should also remember Dr. Albert Cook, who was the first missionary Doctor who built Namirembe Hospital.
We should also remember as a Hero Mother Kevina who was popularly known as Maama Kevina. She was a Catholic missionary nun of the Franciscan Sisters who arrived here from Canada in 1902 and built Nsuube Domestic Science College (now known as Stella Maris) and the big Nkokonjeru Catholic Hospital and Mission.
She was praying a white Rosary and green Rosary day and night to chase away the African gods which were dominant there at that time.
We should remember as a Hero Apolo KivaEbulaya who originated from Mityana Singo, and spread Christianity in what was known in the 19th century as “Mboga Zaire”.
Another Uganda Hero who should be remembered next year is Katikkiro Martin Luther Nsibirwa, who, together with the British Governor Dandus, built Makerere University. Makerere was established in 1922.
In 1945 the British Government decided to enlarge it to the present level. It first proved very difficult because the Baganda mailoland owners were reluctant to vacate their land.
Governor Dandus told Nsibirwa that, “If the Baganda do not agree the University will be taken to Kenya”. Nsibirwa refused and took the matter to the Buganda Lukiiko where he moved a motion stipulating very clearly that the Buganda Kingdom has decided to allocate land elsewhere in Buganda to all Baganda mailoland owners on Makerere Hill so that the University will be enlarged on ample land.
The Buganda Lukiiko unanimously passed that resolution. At that time in Buganda nobody could dare oppose the Katikkiro of Buganda who was known as “Kamalabyona”.
Nsibirwa built all the counties and sub counties headquarters in Buganda and Butikkiro at Mengo, the traditional house of the Katikkiro of Buganda.
We should also remember another hero, Michael Kawalya-Kaggwa who was Katikkiro of Buganda from 1945 to 1950. Kawalya-Kaggwa was a son of Sir Apolo Kaggwa and had external exposure besides being an ex-serviceman of the Second World War.
When he was Katikkiro he requested the British Governor that the British Government should build the Owen Falls Hydro Electric Dam on River Nile for the people of Uganda and should provide purified water from Lake Victoria to all areas of Uganda.
The Dam was built and completed in 1954 and Queen Elisabeth II officially opened it the same year. The water system is everywhere in the country now.
We should remember Abataka Semakula Mulumba and Miti Kabazzi of “ABATAKABU” who spearheaded and organised the 1945 and 1949 uprising in Buganda which were nicknamed NAMBA MUNAANA NE NAMBA MWENDA which resulted in reforming the Buganda Lukiiko to allow three (3) people’s representatives from each county and to allow people in Uganda to own cotton ginneries which were being dominated by Indians with the backing of the Colonial Government at that time.
I witnessed both uprisings and I can tell you they were terrible almost similar to Mau Mau in Kenya, but they were short lived.
We should also remember Augustino Kamya, the first Catholic to be as tough, aggressive and assertive like the Protestants, who organised the 1959 boycott of all Asian and European goods in Kampala and elsewhere in Uganda.
The boycott was so effective and it resulted in Africans taking over retail business in Kampala and elsewhere in the country. Asians who were dominant in trading centres outside Kampala moved to Kampala where Amin found them in 1972.
We should also remember the Kyabazinga of Busoga who, together with missionaries of the Anglican Church, built Busoga College Mwiri.
We also remember as a hero Semei Lwakirenzi Kakungulu who in the 19th century spread the system of administration in Bugisu and Eastern Uganda.
Finally next year we should remember the founders of the Uganda National Congress (UNC) and the Democratic Party the political parties which spread the gospel of nationalism and fought for Uganda’s Independence.
Uganda National Congress was founded by six men: I.K. Musazi, Abubakar Kakyama Mayanja (Buganda), Stefano Abwangoto (Bugisu), Ben Okweredde (Teso), Yekosofati Engur (Lango) and S.B. Katembo (Toro).
I.K. Musazi was the founding President-General and Abubakar Kakyama Mayanja was the founding Secretary-General. The other four automatically became Chairmen in their respective regions and the gospel of nationalism spread like wildfire. Uganda National Congress was founded on March 2, 1952 at the Kabaka’s Lake at Mengo.
The Democratic Party (DP) was founded on October 6, 1954 at Rubaga by eight young revolutionary Catholics who were the products of the famous Catholic Schools: Namilyango College, St. Mary’s College, Kisubi, St. Henry’s College, Kitovu and St. Peter’s Secondary School Nsambya.
They were Joseph Kasolo, who was the founding President General, Joseph Kasule, founding Secretary-General, S.B. Kibuuka, P. Nsubuga, A.B. Serubiri, L.M. Tyaba, M. Kiddu and Alphonse Ntale.
The writer is an elder from Kyaggwe