Over 1m Pilgrims Throng Namugongo Martyrs’ Shrines

Today, the Uganda Martyrs are celebrated yet again at Namugongo, an event that draws thousands of pilgrims every year.

This year’s celebrations are organized by the diocese of Kiyinda –Mityana under the theme; “The Truth Will Set You Free”.

Over one million pilgrims are attending the Martyrs’ Day celebrations at Namugongo Shrines.

These are drawn from within Uganda and other African countries including 4000 from Kenya, 4,500 from Tanzania, 300 from Burundi and 1,500 from Rwanda.

At the Catholics shrine the prayers have started and are being led by Bishop Joseph Anthony Zziwa of Kiyinda-Mityana Diocese.

Meanwhile at the Anglican Shrine where the guest of honor is the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, the prayers are being led by the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda Stanley Ntagali.

The main celebrant is Rt Rev Dr.Samuel Chkwudi Ezeofor from Nigeria.

Motorists using roads leading to the Namugongo have been advised to use alternative routes to avoid inconvenience as pilgrims throng the shrines.

Kampala Metropolitan Traffic Commander Norman Musinga said earlier that according to the traffic guidelines to be followed today, there will be no parking at the venue for the general public and only invited guests are allowed to park vehicles at both shrines

VIPs with vehicles bearing RED Stickers going to the Catholic Shrine are accessing Namugongo via Kyaliwajjala and park at Namugongo Primary School playground, while those with BLUE Stickers will park at Vienna College Namugongo.

VIPs going to the Protestants Shrine can access the venue via Bweyogere and Seeta to park at the Protestant play ground as shall be guided by the Police.

Pilgrims using buses to the Catholic shrine shall be dropped at Kyaliwajjala then the buses will proceed to park at Namboole via Naalya.

Pilgrims accessing the venue from the Northern Bypass from areas of Ntinda, Hoima road and Bwaise will park at St. Peter’s S.S and Hill Side Nursery & Primary School as shall be guided by the Police.

Private vehicles, commuter taxis and motor cycles will not be allowed beyond Kireka trading center.

Relatedly, the health and sanitation department at Namugongo shrine is overwhelmed by the huge number of pilgrims who do not know how to use flush toilets.

Ronald Kasibante, a health and sanitation supervisor at Namugongo says it is difficult to control the pilgrims since they are all coming from different cultural backgrounds.

He says some find it normal to litter the compound with human waste.

In a sseperate development atleast 50 people have so far been arrested bay police at Namugongo for various offenses.

Story By KFM reporters