Every 3rd of June, the people of Uganda celebrates Martry’s day with a national holiday and prayers, a day etched forever in the minds of of Ugandan’s because of the heroism of Charles Lwanga and his companions in 1886. The story began when King Mwanga at the age of 18 succeeded his father Mutesa I in 1884, to the throne Buganda. Initially friendly with the arriving missionaries, Mwanga was quick to realize that converts adopted new moral and religious standards and adherences and that his powers and influences based on traditional practices (According to old tradition the king was the center of power and authority, and he could dispense with any life as he felt) would dwindle, he turned against the Christians viciously and ordered the death of the Anglican bishop Hannington. Criticized for this by one of his advisers, Joseph, a neophyte and recent convert to Catholicism; the king had him beheaded, paving the way for flood of killings Christians. Like a typical love story. Charles Lwanga, chief of the 400 royal courtiers, the king’s elite officers, was moved to the dept of his soul by the news of how Joseph, as he was dying, proclaimed,”Mwanga has condemned me without cause, but tell him I forgive him in my heart.” He asked for baptism and was received into the church, and began a successful proselytism among courtiers in the kings court. Homosexuality, though abhorred in Baganda, was the young kings sport– with some of his courtiers. Their conversions to Christianity would clash with the kings desires. Incensed by the refusal of a courtier because of his new beliefs, the king ordered the palace doors shut, paraded the entire courtier and ordered all “who prayed” to stand aside. Charles Lwanga led the way and was followed by 22 others (all under 25). Next the king demanded of them if they were Christians and intended to remain Christians. When they answered “Yes” with strength and courage, Mwanga condemned them to death. The next day, they were imprisoned in far away hill, where On June 3, they were brought out, wrapped in red mats, placed on the pyre and burnt alive.
This day celebration is the triumph of love over tyranny, “Europeans are putting us under pressure because of homosexuality.” said the Ugandan president, Museveni. “They think we are against it because of our religious background but even before religion was introduced in the country, we were against homosexuality and any form of sexual abuse. The Europeans are finished and if we follow their western culture, we shall be headed for Sodom and Gomorrah (the two places which God destroyed because of sexuality)”
“People turn the wicked into good and what is surprising they confuse the right with the wrong. This has destroyed the morals in the young population,” Bishop Gandiya said.
The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda Luke Orombi called on Christians to emulate the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for their faith.
“The church in Africa is very strong and has been at the fore in fighting homosexuality and moral decadence. We must look for modern ways of instilling discipline in society.”
Article by Chinwuba Iyizoba, Editor of Authors-choice.