Uganda Martyrs’ festival cancelled

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East Africa’s largest religious pilgrimage has been cancelled for this year due to the Coronvirus pandemic. The Primate of the Church of Uganda, the Most Rev. Stephen Kaziimba this past weekend announced the 3 June 2020 festival would be celebrated “at home”.

In his Sunday sermon delivered from the church’s headquarters in Namirembe Archbishop Kaziimba said: “these days, things are done like business unusual. You know we celebrated Easter in our homes and even this year we are going to celebrate Uganda Martyr’s day in our homes. I can’t say that we will not celebrate Martyr’s day. I will celebrate it but we will not be traveling to Namugongo [the site of the shrine].”

Last week the Roman Catholic Bishops Conference of Uganda said they would not celebrate the pilgrimage honoring 23 Anglican and 22 Catholic converts to Christianity in Buganda who were executed between 1885 and 1887 on the orders of King Mwanga II for refusing to renounce their faith.

The Government of Uganda has confirmed 97 cases of the virus as of May 4, 2020, with 55 patients reported recovered from the disease. Of the 97, the Ugandan Ministry of Health reports 36 cases were of foreign truck drivers coming from outside the country. It reported “of these, 19 truck drivers have returned to their respective countries while 17 are admitted at different hospitals in Uganda.:

To combat its spread the government has ordered a lock down of citizens and the closure of non-essential businesses. On 23 March 2020 the government closed Entebbe International Airport and all land borders.