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Namugongo: Religious and…

By Vision Reporter

Added 8th April 2011 03:00 AM

IT is a place of astounding religious importance - the world over. Come June 3, and Namugongo bubbles with activity.

IT is a place of astounding religious importance - the world over. Come June 3, and Namugongo bubbles with activity.

By Titus Kakembo

IT is a place of astounding religious importance - the world over. Come June 3, and Namugongo bubbles with activity.

Pilgrims trek, drive and fly from different parts of the world to commemorate the execution of the pioneer martyrs of Africa dating far back to 1886.

On that day, tongues go on riot with words and wag with amorphous appetites for beer. Pork is wolfed as if pigs were on the verge of extinction. In their drunken stupor, the sober and drunk engage in arguments.

Feeling the pulse of life there on a Sunday, I was shocked to see the conventional Catholic and Protestant churches filling to capacity.

Namugongo residents never miss touring the legendary tree where the hang-man then, Mukajanga, used to execute his bloody duties.

Mini-supermarkets, big time schools like Vienna College, dukas (corner-shops), fast pork dispensers and pubs make the place vibrant.

Local artistes often hit the town over weekends to keep residents on the edges of their seats with new hits. There are frothy millet beer bars where patrons pay sh2,000 per sitting. Molokony (cow-hoof stew) goes for sh2,500.

Rangers is a pub not worth missing. Africanica is more spacious with neatly manicured gardens. But swimming and other leisure destinations comprise Agenda and Linda.

While sipping a cold beer there, I overheard one group argue wheather Kabaka Mwanga II, who condemned the martyrs to death, should be remembered as a hero or a villain.

“Gadaffi in Libya and Gbagbo of Ivory Coast are fighting to the last man,” pointed out Kizito Mukasa, a resident of Namugongo.“ “The missionaries over threw Kabaka Mwanga. They rubbished our gods and declared that there is The Almighty.”

After sending his Adam’s apple rocking up and down while guzzling beer, the other party quotes Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.“ When the missionaries came, the Africans had land and the missionaries had the Bible. They taught us to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened our eyes, they had the land and we had the Bible.”

After this drunken brainstorming, I took a walk around Namugongo and searched among property agents about the rates there.

Namugongo is a 30-minute drive east of Kampala City. The pace of life there is slow and religious. There is an access road from Seeta, off Kampala/Jinja highway via Sonde. Another alternative route is through Ntinda via Naalya and Kyaliwajjala trading centre.

The volume of traffic depends on the time of the day.

The profile of Namugongo residents comprises doctors, accountants, journalists, the clergy, traders, lawyers and teachers.

In the midst of Namugongo is Harambe Urban Farm supplying homes with eggs, milk, fruits and chicken at pocket friendly prices. In these times of rising cost of food, the gospel preached is that every home must have a backyard farm.

However, with their radars on full alert for the swelling need for homes, property dealers comprising Jomayi, Hossana and Akright have bought huge pieces of land and partitioned them into 50ftx100ft plots.

The price ranges between sh7m-sh10m. The plots are equipped with running water tunnels, roads, electricity and piped water.

A newly built three-bedroom, two bathrooms and gardens which occupy 15 decimals of land in an estate goes for over sh135m.

When it comes to rent, a two bedroom bungalow costs between sh350,000 and sh700,000 per month.

With the Northern Bypass, Namugongo can easily access neighbourhoods of Ntinda, Bwaise, Naalya, Kireka, and Busega.

Speculators say the area is yet to be exploited to capacity.

“There is need for affordable lodging facilities and turning the place into a destination all year round,” says John Mulengera, a businessman. “This would decongest the place even during the Martyr’s Day celebrations.”

With Kenyatta’s quotation ringing in my mind, I left Namungongo with another view. Besides the Bible, missionaries in Uganda left the converts brave enough to face death without switching allegiance from God.

Namugongo: Religious and…

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