Wed Jun 03 2020 .
Christians celebrate Uganda Martyrs Day at home
Brenda Nakayiwa
Journalist @ New vision


Christians have marked this year's Uganda Martyrs Day from their homes. This follows the presidential ban on public gathering to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic that has infected over 6,000,000 people and caused over 382,000 deaths.

In his Martyr's Day message to the public on Tuesday, President Yoweri Museveni asked believers to pray from home as they have been doing over the last two months

President Museveni reading his Martyrs Day speech

"The religion practice of gathering in Namugongo for special prayers will not take place this year because of the deadly coronavirus disease, which has spread to the entire globe," he said adding that this virus has the potential of spreading like a bush fire once it finds large groups of people near each other. 

"We must continue to deny it this opportunity by praying from our homes," Museveni said.

Security officers at the entrance of Martyrs shine in Namugongo. Photo by Daron Bartlett

The President noted that one of the attributes of God is that he is omnipresent and referred to the book of Psalms 139: 7-8 which reads; Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

"We continue to lift our nation in prayer and ask for God's protection of all Ugandans against the coronavirus disease," he said.

About 100 pilgrims have been accredited to attend prayers at both the Roman Catholic and Anglican shrines at Namugongo in Wakiso district. However, the prayers are being broadcasted live on TV and radio.

Some of the few invited worshippers attending prayers at Namugongo

Security has been deployed at all entries to prevent the people who are have not been invited from accessing the premises.

One of the Christians praying at the entrance of the Martyrs shrine. Photo by Daron Bartlett

Unlike the usual Martyrs Day celebrations characterized by festivities, heavy traffic jams, and big crowds comprising of Christians, vendors, and well-wishers, this year Namugongo is calm.

Apart from the accredited worshippers and security officers patrolling the area, there are few pilgrims praying near the fences of the Martyrs shrines.

Every June 03, the world remembers the Uganda Martyrs who were executed between 31 January 1885 and 27 January 1887 by Kabaka Mwanga II for their faith in Jesus Christ. They included 23 Anglicans and 22 Roman Catholics. 

Some of the pilgrims praying at the fence of the Martyrs shrine