By Spy Uganda
The Namugongo Martyrs Day celebrations that usually attract throngs of people from all over the world that converge at the Martyrs Shrine in Namugongo on June 3rd every year, will this year be celebrated by only 100 people.
The directive was issued by government today Tuesday June 2, 2020, just a few hours to the Martyrs Day, which is tomorrow, Wednesday June 3rd, 2020, as way of preventing the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) by avoiding large group gatherings.
The revelation was made today by the Uganda Prisons Services Spokesperson who revealed that as result of the increasing numbers of COVID-19 infections in Uganda, the Government had passed a resolution after consultation with the relevant religious leaders, that only 100 people, mainly priests, religious leaders and a few government officials will be allowed to celebrate the Martyrs Day.
“Public gatherings have not yet been allowed even though tomorrow is Martyrs Day. Only 100 people were invited for the celebrations. At the Namugongo Catholic Church, 60 & 40 for the Anglican. The rest are urged to celebrate from home” Baine, who was speaking at the Uganda Media Centre said.
It should be noted that during his 15th National Address on Coronavirus, President Yoweri Museveni revealed that although the Coronavirus lockdown was partially lifted by allowing private vehicles to return on the roads and the use of public transport means, public gatherings of any nature, whether religious, political, cultural or social are not allowed, since these are fertile grounds for the spread of COVID-19.
For the first time in many years, the annual Catholic Uganda Martyrs’ day will not occur since COVID-19 affected preparation plans, movement of pilgrims and stringent restrictions on public gatherings.
Masaka Diocese, which had been chosen by the Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC) to organize the first-ever double celebration of the Youth Feast and Martyrs Day, officially communicated to the bishops’ conference about the development.
Rev Fr Ronald Mayanja, the Masaka Diocesan communications director, said at first, they thought that the lockdown could be lifted, but because the situation is not yet back to normal, they decided to call off the celebrations.
He, however, noted that the diocese remains ready to organize for the next Feast Day if at all it reaches again when the battle against the virus has been successful.
“Masaka diocese had already raised over Shs300 million in preparation for the feast which required a total of Shs950 million. Although the feast has been postponed, we have not dissolved the standing organizing committees,” Rev. Fr Mayanja said is his letter to the Bishops.