Former presidential candidate, Kizza Besigye, extended his sympathies to Uganda Martyrs who he said were executed for defiance and disobedience of the traditional status quo towards the end of the 19th century.
“Every year, since 1968, we celebrate the Christian Martyrs- the 45 men and women of incredible faith,” Besigye said in his martyrs’ day message.
He said the bravery of the Martyrs was inspired by faith and belief; their executioners were motivated by the desire to dominate their subjects.
“This clash of faith and power led to the birth of Christianity in this beautiful land that became Uganda and attained independence four years before canonisation.”
Today, in a modern Uganda, injustice, which the Uganda Martyrs defied, has not been eliminated, Besigye said.
“In fact, injustice, perpetrated by the political leaders who control power, resources and tools of coercion has reached unacceptable levels.”
He cited the torture of citizens, corruption and theft of public funds, rigging elections, displacement of citizens through land grabbing, break-down of social services like education, healthcare, support for the elderly, violence against women, hunger and starvation, malnutrition.
He said these are all evidently clear to us- exactly what religion and religious leaders must defy and fight to end.
“You will recall, this time last year, I was a captive; held away in Luzira prison because you and I shared beliefs and conviction for a better Uganda where Ugandans and free, liberated and believe in God.”
“That conviction was an outcome of your overwhelming support for our ideas during elections. I am happy to join you in this year’s celebrations-out of prison although still under subjugation.”
Besigye called on Ugandans never to forget that they have a greater duty to the nation like the Martyrs had an obligation to defend their faith.
“Like the Martyrs birthed Christianity, we can make a vow, hereafter, that we can, without fear give rise to a New Uganda. Your faith should be consistent with desire for a better Uganda.”