Namugongo Pilgrims Trek for Regional Peace

Ruling National Resistance Movement Secretary General Hon Justine Kasule Lumumba has told reporters in Mbarara district, page that top Party officials are being held in detention over alleged misconduct in the ongoing NRM membership registration process.

Mrs Lumumba was in Mbarara on Monday, prescription where she met a couple hundred delegates from the districts of Ibanda, Mbarara, Isingiro, Ntungamo, and Kiruhura at the Catholic Social Center in Mbarara Municipality.

Speaking to press after the meeting, the SG owned up to cases of misconduct and misuse of registration materials which have marred the registration exercise that is hoped to produce a new NRM Register ahead of October’s party primaries and 2016 general elections.

Lumumba revealed that in the ongoing chaos in various parts of the country, three NRM registrars and two district party chairpersons had been arrested.

She however, declined to identify the arrested officials, adding that several more were likely to be locked up as well.

Mrs Lumumba said she was in charge of the exercise and would not allow party leaders to curtail its success.

Chimpreports has confirmed that the arrested officials are from the Districts of Amolatar, Buikwe and Gulu.

Mrs Lumumba’s Deputy Hon Richard Todwong told us on phone that the Amolatar District Registrar [unnamed] was detained at a local Police station and later released.


The Buikwe NRM Chairperson was also arrested as well as the Pece Division Registrar in Gulu Municipality.

Mr Todwong told us, “We shall deal with any irregularity accordingly and all our officials should desist from negative practices during this registration.”

Chimpreports also understands that the Kioga County MP Hon Okello Anthony was reported to Amolatar Police for allegedly ferrying ghost NRM supporters from Kalaki, in Kaberamaido district to register as NRM members in Amolatar.

Okello did confirm the incident when we reached him on phone, but said it was his local political enemies.

Meanwhile in the Mbarara meeting, Hon Lumumba forwarded proposed names for new registrars for Ibanda, Isingiro, Ntungamo, Kirihura and Mbarara to the party leaders but leaders from Isingiro refused the appointment of the proposed district registrars and asked for fresh voting.

An angry delegate from Kiruhura exchanges with her colleague outside the Catholic Resource center
An angry delegate from Kiruhura exchanges with her colleague outside the Catholic Resource center

Minister Bright Rwamirama conducted elections outside the conference and Venansio Taremwa was voted the district registrar before the secretary general.

Lumumba cautioned NRM leaders to avoid internal divisions in the party and urged them to elect trustworthy leaders in the coming elections.

NRM leaders from Ibanda led by the district party chairman Robert Rutehenda expressed concern over the indebted district party office, but Lumumba waved them down saying rent for all NRM offices had been paid to August.

Isingiro delegates voted for the district registrar of their choice
Isingiro delegates voted for the district registrar of their choice

She thus said that the administration secretary of Ibanda office would be arrested for misappropriating rent funds once the issue is not resolved in time.

“We know our party has financial constraints but we can’t operate in offices without paying rent. We rather have few leaders who are royal than having many who cannot be trusted.” Lumumba said

Additional Reporting by Dickens Okello
Michael Ntezza and Paul Ampuriire

Believers from all walks of life have already pitched camp in Namugongo, there Kampala while others continue to trickle in ahead of the annual 3rd June Martyrs Day celebrations. The day is very instrumental in the Catholic and Anglican faiths to celebrate the 45 martyrs executed between November 1885 and January 1887 in Uganda.

To honor the brave and courageous spirit exemplified by these martyrs, viagra sale many pilgrims from within Uganda and beyond trek to Namugongo on foot. Over the years, check pilgrims from Kenya, Tanzania and other neighboring countries have often risked everything to walk for days, weeks to celebrate the day.

Chimpreports went to Namugongo to understand what these pilgrims’ experiences, what inspired their journeys and what their expectations are this year.

Pilgrims narrate their experiences

Tumwebaze Vincent from Nyakibale Denary (Kabale Diocese) in Rukungiri district together with 82 other Christians walked from Rukungiri to Namugongo. Tumwebaze has been making pilgrimages every year since 1984 together with his wife.

He told us that the group set off on Tuesday 19th and arrived in Kampala after 19 days. The group made stop overs in Ntungamo, Karama, Sanga, Lyantonde, Mbirizi, Saza and Lukaya before arriving in Kampala amidst heavy rains. They found shelter at Catholic parishes in these places and often set off at midnight in 4 divided groups of 20.

Tumwebaze however narrated that not all was smooth on this trek. The group was delayed a bit in Sanga due to some members suffering swollen feet while the elderly women also slowed them down.

On what inspires these daring journeys, Tumwebaze says that religion was first embraced by Ugandan martyrs to an extent of sacrificing their lives. He believes that despite their martyrdom, they still live on and through their faith he gets deliverance.

Christopher Mengick is Kenyan from Eldoret Diocese and this is the 4th time he is walking to Namugongo shrine. He was part of a group of 96 who footed for 3 weeks from Kenya and arrived in Namugongo on 1st June. He told us that lack of peace in Kenya and in the East African region is the reason behind his pilgrimage this year.

His country has suffered a number of tragic attacks orchestrated by terrorists from neighboring Somalia in the recent past. Mengick hopes that God will listen to his intercession for peace and security.

Tanzanian pilgrims have also come in numbers this year. Deogratius Bishubo who is Chairman Laity Bukoba Diocese in Kagera region, Tanzania spoke to Chimpreports. The group he led here came by bus and left Tanzania Monday morning.

He has made 4 pilgrimages so far and he is motivated by the unshaken faith that led the martyrs to die for their religion. Bishubo also borrows the belief that when 2 or more people gather in God’s presence, their prayers are heard.

Pilgrims talk about the healing water

While at Namugongo you can’t help but notice that every pilgrim has a container holding water meant to later be carried back home.

Their testimonies about this water drawn from the Martyr’s lake at Namugongo are however similar. Listening to their tales and experiences, it confirms how holy this water is as well as its healing power.

Tumwebaze told us that he believes this water is blessed therefore if taken whatever one uses it for gets a blessing. He adds that the weapons used to murder the Uganda martyrs were afterwards cleaned in the water. Therefore the water symbolizes their blood.

Teddy Tom Otim from Lira diocese said that the water symbolizes the tears shed by the martyrs while they were being tormented.

Byenkya Leonard a 55 year old father of ten, from Kibale district says he started the trek to Namugongo on Sunday

24th May at 9.40 and his group reached Namugongo on Friday 29th May 2015. On the way he says they were not spared of huddles.

“We set off from Kagadi at exactly 9.40 in a group of fifty people with our leader. We were asked to pay twenty five thousand shillings for our return transport; we had to have fifty thousand in our pockets for our upkeep and at the same time we mobilized five thousand shillings to be used in buying edibles on the way” Byenkya remarked

Byenkya narrates that on their way to Namugongo they used to sleep in only designated churches where they were fed and given first aid treatment for their swollen legs and fatigue.

“I joined the team for people coming to Namugongo after I was told that this was of the ways through which solve my problems, it has not been an easy task because on the way we have been abused and provoked by some people who thought we could give up on our journey but we neglected them”

He added that at the same time there were good hearted people who bought them eats, provided them shelter as well as wishing them well.

“Some people were asking us to pray for them as we headed to Namugongo and it was this fact that we never lost hope and courage to continue our journey day’

“I prepared for this journey three months back. On getting that idea I got a small wooden box where I saved coins until I had the full amount that is required of us. It is my first time to visit Namugongo and I hope my prayers will be

Most of the pilgrims at Namugongo are using mobile money system to receive support from home and they are in constant communication with their family members.


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