By the time Britain colonised Uganda, Buganda was an independent Kingdom.
Quite a lot has been written and said about what transpired in Namugongo in relation to the martyrs. However, let me try to put it into context of an economic and spiritual perspective.
“Namugoongo” is an area in a central province of the Uganda territory known as Buganda. By the time Britain colonised Uganda, Buganda was an independent Kingdom.
A king in Buganda is referred to as “Kabaka”. The first British group that arrived in Buganda was received with courtesy by the then Kabaka who wanted to know where they had come from and who their ruler was. They told him their country was Britain being headed by a lady referred to as “Queen”.
He, therefore, proposed that it would be good and appropriate, if he would marry that lady so that he would unite the two countries into one, namely Buganda and Britain. Later, one of those British visitors commented that when they looked at his throne, it was an item that could not even fit in the kitchen of their Queen.
However, they introduced their own type of belief to the local kingdom. In their teachings, they said there was a God that could not be seen by ordinary human eyes, but just through belief.
That one must just believe that that God exists and that he or she must ask what he or she requires through that God and that God would grant what is needed by anybody on Earth as He was above everything on Earth and after all was the very creator of the entire world.
Subsequently people began following the teachings of these newcomers much as the Kabaka’s domestic servants were also converted to this type of belief.
A type of prayer was introduced in the kingdom illustrating the superiority of this type of a new God. It ran as follows:
“Our Father which art in Heaven. (Kitafe ali mu gulu)
The Kabaka himself heard his own domestic servants pray above his own head that another king comes and takes over from him.
On top of all this, people were told that apart from this very earth, there was another world called “Heaven” which had no economic problems, but full of only peace and comfort. In that world there were also people called “Angels” who had wings and could fly anywhere in the universe looking for friendship and peace.
Third, that this “Heaven” world had a very beautiful and peaceful city called “Zion” where all human- beings would live together in harmony and friendship for ever and ever after death.
The kabaka internalised all this and concluded as follows:
- That there is really another “Kabaka”.
- Stronger and more powerful than him
- He is being asked by his own domestic servants to come and take over his kabakaship.
The kabaka then developed concentrated economic emotions and sentiments to make sure his kingdom was not usurped.
He, therefore, arrested 40 of this group of his domestic servants and decided to kill them.
He led them to Namugongo, let them collect a lot of firewood which he could use to burn them alive. They saw the punishment extremely harsh and yet irreversible! So they also, according to their own spiritual conviction, which was also irreversible, could not repent to the kabaka as if they had wronged him. They, therefore, produced the following utterances in a form and content of a hymn as follows:
“Singa mbadde n’ebiwaawa nga malaika, nandibuuse, naandibuuse, eri mu sayuuni!”
“If I had wings, like an angel, I would fly. I would fly, there to Zion!”
They walked spiritually courageously and succumbed to an inevitable furnace and died.
Need for proper spiritual life
There can never be a proper spiritual life in the world without a mutually acceptable economic system.
Owning a man or a woman in a home and make him or her work without pay is wrong.
Owning land above others and making them pay rent is wrong and abominable
Making men and women work at a very low wage level with the aim of gaining profits from them is very incorrect.
Colonizing other territories is incorrect.
All those systems above should be abolished from each national territory on the globe. Each country should establish a welfare state where all are for each and each is for all. The people at Namugoongo were killed under slave – ownership in Buganda where land –rent is again practiced against peasants. This is unfortunate.
Political Economy should be taught in all academic institutions in order to liberate people from ignorance concerning labor and property ownership as sources of spiritual life vis – a – vis superstition.