Uganda yesterday marked this year’s Uganda Martyrs Day to commemorate a group of 23 Anglican and 22 Catholic converts to Christianity in the historical kingdom of Buganda who were executed between 31 Jan 1885 and 27 Jan 1887.
They were killed on orders of Mwanga II, the kabaka of Buganda.
This happened at a time when there was a three-way religious struggle for royal political influence at Buganda royal Court.
Mukajanga who was Buganda kingdom’s chief executioner played a pivotal role in the demise of 45 young Christians at Namugongo as he commanded the execution of Uganda Matryrs.
In an effort to put all this in perspective, the Anglican Church has spent billions of shillings to construct a museum for the martyrs.
Located at the Anglican shrine at Nakiyanja, the museum harbors the portrayed pictures of the executed Marty’s and commander Mukajanga who fulfilled the orders of his master Mwanga.
At the entrance of the Museum, one’s eyes are instantly set on the portrayed picture of Mukajanga giving command and witnessing the beheading and burning of the converts — the now canonized Uganda Martyrs.
It is believed that among the killed, was Mukajanga’s own son who disobeyed his father’s doctrine and converted to Christianity.
Publication in Britain of an 1875 letter purporting to be an invitation from King of Buganda Muteesa 1 (Mwanga’s father) to send missionaries, resulted into the arrival of Alexander Mackay of Anglican Church missionary society to Buganda in 1877.
Kabaka Mwanga II succeeded the throne in 1884.
He was concerned about the growing influence of Christianity and the rise of a new class of officials distinct from traditional territorial chiefs who were educated, had a religious orientation and wished to reform the Ganda society hence the war against Christianity.