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Bishop Hannington day fete: Gen. Museveni calls out religious, traditional leaders over declining moral standards

President Museveni launches a book on Bishop Hannington as Bishops look on during Bishop Hannington Day in Mayuge on Saturday (PHOTO/PPU)

President Yoweri Museveni has called for an audit of traditional institutions in Uganda so that citizens can benefit from their positive contributions.

“As we remember these people who died for no good reason like Bishop Hannington and other martyrs, we should think of auditing traditional institutions. They have their good side but also they have internal weaknesses. Now me who came later, I had to rectify some mistakes.

When we were fighting in Luwero one of the challenges was to believe in superstition. People used to come to camps and say that you should not cook pumpkins for the war leader, they said that if I eat pumpkins, people will cry because the plant has a lot of water. They meant that we were to lose a lot of people in the war. I explained to them that the narrative was wrong,” the President said.

Gen. Museveni made the call during Bishop Hannington Memorial Day celebrations in Kyando, Mayuge district on Saturday, 29 October 2022.

The day is marked to commemorate the martyrdom of Bishop James Hannington who was killed 137 years ago.

Archbishop Kazimba (C) and other bishops from Busoga during the Bishop Hannington Day in Kyando, Mayuge district on Saturday (PHOTO/PPU )

He said that it was due to the internal weaknesses of traditional institutions that innocent people like Bishop Hannington were killed.

“The Europeans had their plans of colonialism but out those there were those with good intentions. The traditional leaders should have waited to attack those who were armed instead of killing Hannington who was spreading the gospel. What we can do is to engage the families of people like Bishop Hannington and we ask them for forgiveness on behalf of our forefathers for the wrongs they committed. If we link up with their families and express gratitude to them. I think God will also be happy with us,” President Museveni expounded.

He added that when he came to power, he supported the restoration of traditional institutions and when he did, he made a speech at Bulange Mengo and gave in his views that the institutions and norms should be audited so that Uganda gets the good examples out of them.

“Now why were traditional leaders kill these people ? It was wrong. For the case of Hannington, it was superstition. Someone had told Mwanga that people who will come from the East will bring trouble to you. We have the opportunity to audit and guide our people very well. Like traditional institutions preach against marrying from the same clan. Scientifically its good because it stops inbreeding. Its one of the reasons I supported the restoration of traditional institutions.”

Mr. Museveni further challenged traditional and religious institutions to audit the morals which Ugandans should keep and those they should do away with.

“For example very many years ago, Church of Uganda really helped the Banyankore, to overcome their primitive ways of life, for instance they were drinking uncooked milk which caused them TB and worms. Instead of involving in politics, the traditional institutions and religious leaders should help people audit themselves to be good citizens,” he asserted.

Mr. Museveni further promised to develop Bishop Hannington site systematically as well as engage the cabinet on why the request to make the day a public holiday was turned down.

He also launched a book about the life of Bishop Hannington. The book was authored by Rev. Can. Dr. John Magimba.

On the other hand, His Excellency directed the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Works and Transport, Mr. Bageya Waiswa to tarmac the additional four kilometres of Kyando- Mayuge road that connects to Bishop Hannington site.

“I don’t want to come back for the next celebrations when that road is not tarmacked,” the President ordered amid chants from excited Mayuge residents.

Part of the pilgrims who turned up for Bishop Hannington Day in Mayuge on Saturday. (PHOTO/PPU)

On improving household incomes and getting out of poverty, the President also promised to support palm oil growing in Busoga after getting reports that one can earn Uganda shillings 20 million from one acre in a year. This is among the new modalities being considered by Mayuge district local government of reducing the acreage of sugarcane plantations in favor of Oil Palm trees as a better alternative to improving people’s incomes.

The district is known for growing sugarcane that feeds several sugar factories in Busoga sub region.

“If that is the case, then I would go for palm oil. We have introduced palm oil in Kalangala and it’s doing well there. Because remember we are talking about families with 2 acres or less. So that means you will have one acre of palm oil and another one for food because you need food. This is the medicine we are looking for. The people of Bundibugyo are also doing well with palm oil,” the head of state noted who said never supported sugarcane growing for smallholder farmers.

He also preached to the people of Busoga about the four acres plan of agriculture and the seven recommended activities on account of high returns per acre, per annum. These are: one acre for clonal coffee; one acre for fruits (mangoes, oranges and pineapples); one acre for food crops for the family (cassava, bananas, upland rice or irrigation rice, Irish potatoes, sorghum or millet); one acre for pasture for dairy cattle, poultry for eggs in the backyard; piggery; and fish farming along the edges of the wetlands (not in the center).

He contributed 20 million shillings to the 500 homes of Kyando village and another 20 million shillings to the SACCO of LC.3 councilors of Mayuge.

The First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of East African Community Affairs, Rebecca Kadaga hailed President Museveni for always extending financial support towards the commemorations of Hannington Day.

Some of the Cultural leaders attending Bishop Hannington Day at Kyando in Mayuge district on Saturday (PHOTO/PPU)

Kadaga also revealed that the cabinet resolved that the Day will not be made a public Holiday but rather it will be annually be recognized and celebrated like it has always been done.

“Your Excellency, when we meet you as political and religious leaders from Busoga, you told us that you cannot decide alone on the issue of gazetting the day into a public holiday. We proceeded to Cabinet which resolved that the day will not be made a public holiday and should be celebrated like this,” she said.

She also lauded the President for promoting tourism and wooing investors into setting up businesses in the sub region.

The Third Deputy Prime Minister, Rt Hon. Rukia Isanga Nakadama also requested President Museveni to set up skilling centres in Mayuge and Busoga at large in order to address the unemployment issue in the area.

“Mayuge population is too big with a huge population of unemployed youth. We ask you to give us skilling centres so that they youth get those skills to improve their livelihoods through job creation,” said Rt Hon. Nakadama, who is also the Mayuge Woman legislator.

On his part, the Archbishop of Church of Uganda, the Most Rev Dr. Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu reiterated the need to declare Bishop Hannington Memorial Day as a Public Day.

Archbishop Kaziimba explained that the Ministry and blood of Christianity in Uganda was brought by the blood of Missionaries beginning from Bishop Hannington.

“That is why this day must be gazetted into a public Holiday. Hannington gave in his life for Christianity in Uganda. We are not asking for too much since because of his life, we have got the gospel here, we got a lot of things because of this man. This man died but his death was not the end of life. We should not involve politics in this matter of gazetting this day,” he said.

The Archbishop also noted that they want the day gazetted not only to remember Bishop Hannington but also to remember the 60 people he was killed along with who include among others his porters and followers.

Archbishop Stephen Kazimba giving the summons during Bishop Hannington Day at Kyando in Mayuge district on Saturday (PHOTO/ PPU )

“He died here partly because of misunderstandings between Chief Luba of Bunya and Buganda’s Kabaka Mwanga. Chief Luba never understood the language from Kabaka Mwanga who had ordered him to release him (“Muute”). Chief Luba instead mistook the order to as “Kill him” (“Mutte”). But it was their problem to kill such a great man. We are here to celebrate Hannington. The man who came here and he was killed because they didn’t know him. He
was killed like Jesus. He is the only European who was killed here because of gospel. We are here to celebrate him,” he stated.

Archbishop Kaziimba further called upon capable leaders and locals of Busoga to invest and develop the sub region.

“This place should be developed. I have very many friends who hail from here but they invest in Kampala. I’m not saying you shouldn’t develop Kampala because I’m the Archbishop there, but you need to develop Busoga also. We need a churches and standard hospitals among other facilities here. This should be a historical place, we should give it attention,” he further advised.

The Bishop of Busoga Diocese Rt. Rev. Paul Mugumbula Samson Naimanhye thanked the President for supporting them with Uganda shillings 80 million towards the construction of St. Mary’s house for Mother’s Union of Busoga Diocese which is to be built at the headquarters of Busoga Diocese in Bugembe town council, Northern Division, Jinja City.

The Bunya County West Member of Parliament, Henry Aggrey Bagiire appealed to President Museveni to direct Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to reopen Mayuge FM radio station whose operations were halted recently due to lack of an operational license.

He said the local radio station has been paramount in the promotion in the promotion of development programs since it was being used by government officials in the area to mobilise and rely communications from the government.

“We have been using it free of charge. Please Your Excellency talk to UCC so that they give us our radio station back.”

Some of the cabinet ministers attending Bishop Hannington Day at Kyando in Mayuge district on Saturday

In response, the President assured the people of Mayuge that he was going to take up the matter with UCC.

He also commissioned Century Hannington Resort, Kyando, a hotel owned by Rt. Hon. Kadaga.

“This hotel will help in accommodation,” President Museveni said.

Meanwhile, On October 29, 1885, Bishop James Hannington the then reigning Bishop of the Anglican Church in East Africa, alongside his over 60 porters and followers were speared and stoned to death at present-day Kyando village, Bukatuube in Mayuge district.

Bishop Hannington had been held hostage for some time while making his way from Zanzibar to Uganda, where he was to take over office from Alexander Mackay, then acting Bishop of Uganda, better known as Buganda at the time.

The cold-blooded massacres were executed on the orders of the chief of Busoga, Luba.

The chief was suspicious that Hannington was a fierce enemy of his close ally King Mwanga of Buganda Kingdom.

The event was also attended by Ministers, Members of Parliament, religious and traditional leaders, District leaders among other government officials.

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