Religious martyrdom exhibited by the generally young, illiterate and vulnerable Ugandans in the late eighteenth century is amazing and leaves one wondering of the zeal to endure the fate meted upon them by the then a strong King of Buganda-Basammula Ekkere Mwanga. The Martyrs’ day cerebrations held on June 3, of every is here to be marked; however one would go on to ask a horde of questions about the truth of the event in line with the levels of Faith then in comparison with the contemporary perception of Faith. The incumbent questions are whether: –
1. The current youth (Christians) would be able to stand and get counted for martyrdom in the same way?
2. Was there anything special and different then to have the young Christians embrace martyrdom however which may not be the case now; that the Christians of today may not give in to martyrdom any longer?;
3. Does religious persecution exist anymore? If it is existent; what is the current form of religious persecution?
4. Is there any advocacy against the current religious persecution?
All the above questions and so many more can be asked but in brief the following would be some of the answers to them. Certainly it is true and evident that it is very hard to realize the pure martyrdom as beheld by the Uganda Martyrs then from the current Christian fraternity; not even among the religious leadership can we see the zeal shown by these youths. It is further true that the act of the Uganda Martyrs then was a gift of the Holy Spirit not to fear the burning fire even when it seemed to consume them beyond. It is alleged they kept in prayers and praise songs to the dismay of their tormentors (Mukajanga and his men).
It is also true that Religious persecution exists even in the current times. Even after Government of Uganda regularized the Freedom of worship and opened up the rights for free worship by any individual; there exists the current religious persecution by fellow “Religious”. This is out of the so many things that have eaten away the Spirit in us and have been as a result of being managed by the flesh or the “worldly” things that result from what St. Paul mentions in his letter to the Galatians 5: 21-22. Such persecution of fellow religious is moreover practiced and cherished by some of our “praised religious leaders”. Arrogance and conducting of themselves as though they are the real parameters of religious values or even religions themselves. The vices mentioned by St. Paul to the Galatians above have led to classifications and meting judgment on religions and faith groups by some of other the religions as not “true religions or faith groups to the extent of labelling them “cults”. These tormenting religious leaders have gone ahead and discriminated openly, identified their own Religions or sects as the “true religions” and the rest are “not”.
All such intrigue and practice has been developed due to greed for pecuniary resources and hand outs from donors, Government and the influence to hoodwink and blind fold followers into un questioning masses. St. Paul in Galatians 5:19; refers to these as fruits of the flesh and “shamelessness”. In answering the referring question; it is therefore true that Religious persecution is rampart but this time it is amongst religions which have gone to the extent of monopolizing the preaching of Jesus. This can be seen for example in an amalgamation of the four/five Religions in Uganda (not to be mentioned) in Uganda which refer to themselves as the only “true” Religions in Uganda and that the rest are “ not true” Religions. What is all this fuss!!!!!
Seriously when you establish the ways and behaviours and echelons of such Religious leaders persecuting other Religions, one wonders whether they draw meaning from the mystery of the Uganda martyrdom!!
St. Paul further in Galatians 6: 3-6; describes the foolishness in thinking about “oneself as something……….while he/she is not anything”. This waters down all efforts of thinking “themselves as something while….they are nothing”. This is the neo-persecution by the “Religious to Religions” which may thus result into “neo-martyrdom”.
However, on realization of the vacuum and the gap for a need to unite the abandoned and rejected religious servants of the one Jesus Christ who is a monopoly of no one like St. Paul mentions of non-discrimination; “There is no longer a Gentile nor a Jew………………. but all are children of God”, the Christian Ecumenical Council of Uganda was formed to unite and advocate for the “orphaned Christians of Uganda”. CECU thus is a result of neo-persecution, non-recognition, discrimination and close-out for the other religions. CECU strives therefore; to sow unity among Christ’s believers and embraces members who are geared towards the extensive preaching of Word of God without fear or favour. CECU is growing with so far more than 6 Christian faith religious groups. CECU therefore builds the One-body of Christ on the pillar of being Christ’s witnesses at all times.
We would like to welcome everyone to have boldly come out to stand with the advocacy against neo-martyrdom and bear witness for a humble Christ. We should have and cherish Christ in our lives for all to see the truth, transparency and love by our actions and through our actions. By doing this we shall be Witnesses of Christ at All times and even when persecuted we shall agree to be martyrs of Christ. CECU was born to be the Voice of the voiceless, to be the true channel of Peace not only truly wish it others but also to be seen to practice it through our genuine actions and not to behave to wish peace only during day but to subversively behave differently and persecute others or even mete Martyrdom to others.
We thank everyone one and look forward to receiving you every year to our Annual Uganda Martyrs’ cerebrations at Mamre International Prayer Centre-Jjanda Namugongo.
We shall always be the voice of the voiceless; For God and my Country,
Francis Xavier Bbosa
Executive Director-CECU- and Chairperson- MIPC Faithful.