Dear friends, colleagues and partners
We on this day 3rd June, celebrate the lives of thirty two young pages that lost their lives at the hands of Kabaka (King) Mwanga II of Buganda kingdom in 1886 for defying his orders to denounce Christianity.
When asked by the Kabaka to choose between forsaking their faith and death, they chose to follow their leader Charles lwanga to meet their death. They were mercilessly dragged and beaten to the hill of execution; Namugongo hill.
On their way, they were met with pious affection from by standers as they chanted their final exaltations of God, faces smeared with red ocher and bodies streaked in soot, they were stretched out on the reeds and strung with fiber cords, hands tied, legs strapped, rolled in the reeds they were laid on the pyre to roast for what they believed in; their faith.
The story of the Uganda martyrs is a reflection of what the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) persons go through on a daily basis in Uganda and the world over.
We have been harassed, insulted, beaten, killed, discriminated against, disowned and disinherited by our families all for believing in the freedom to love who we choose. Criminalizing laws like the penal code, and the pending Anti-homosexuality bill, oppress us, the government hounds us and the church condemns and excommunicates us.
Let us take this moment to remember and celebrate our own LGBTI martyrs that have lost their lives in the struggle for gay and human rights and all who have been beaten tortured and yet they stood steadfast in belief of their rights and freedom to love who they chose to love.
We must remain one in belief of better days to come and belief of freedom and equality.
The struggle continues.
O god whose providence the blood of martyrs is the seed of the church, grant that we who remember before you the blessed martyrs of Uganda, may Iike them be steadfast in our faith in Jesus Christ to whom they gave obedience, even unto death and by their sacrifices brought forth a plentiful harvest through Jesus Christ our lord who lives and reigns with you and the holy spirit one God for ever and ever.