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Martyrs’ Day: President Museveni urges Christians to balance spirituality with hard work

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Martyrs' Day is commemorated annually to honour the legacy of the Uganda Martyrs.

President Yoweri Museveni has urged religious leaders to promote hard work among Christians even as they pursue spirituality.

Museveni, who joined pilgrims from across Uganda and beyond to commemorate Martyrs’ Day, said Christians must aspire to work hard and achieve a decent living.

The President called upon Christians to venture into profitable enterprises in various sectors such as commercial agriculture, industries, services, and ICT.

“A relevant Christian ministry is one that encourages believers to work towards achieving decent standards of living. In the process of working for heaven, some of the faithful become negligent about their earthly responsibilities, thereby perpetuating and entrenching socio-economic backwardness and poverty in their respective families and societies,” said Museveni.

“In a modern economy, you cannot obtain the goods and services necessary to sustain life without money. The first step that must be taken by an individual or household is to eliminate moneylessness or subsistence living, which satisfies only one need: food,” he added.

Martyrs’ Day is commemorated annually to honor the legacy of the Uganda Martyrs, who were executed for their refusal to renounce Christianity under Kabaka Mwanga’s reign.

Museveni stressed the importance of the commemoration, noting that the persecution and death of the martyrs served as a catalyst for the spread of Christianity in Uganda and across Africa.

“This commemoration is important because the persecution and death of the martyrs did not stop the spread of Christianity in Uganda and other parts of Africa. The blood of the martyrs watered the seed of Christianity. It was, therefore, not shed in vain, because their death served as a catalyst for the growth of Christianity,” said Museveni.

Reflecting on the actions of Kabaka Mwanga, Museveni noted that the persecution of Christian converts was misguided and ultimately futile.

He urged Christians to forgive Kabaka Mwanga, likening his actions to those of Saul before his conversion to St. Paul. “Kabaka Mwanga was blind and acted out of ignorance,” Museveni said, encouraging forgiveness and understanding.

Museveni further stated that the story of the Uganda Martyrs illustrates the impossibility of suppressing correct and progressive ideas, especially those rooted in godliness and humanity. He lauded the teachings of Christianity for their universal appeal and their role in promoting good neighborliness, honesty, integrity, and self-control among believers.

“The Gospel helps to cultivate a fear of God and love for other people, regardless of tribe, region, or religion,” Museveni stated, calling for unity and peaceful coexistence both within Uganda and across Africa.

The origins of Uganda Martyrs’ Day can be traced to the first ten years of Christian presence in the East African nation when the King of Buganda executed 45 men, aged 14 to 50, for their religious beliefs between January 31, 1885, and January 27, 1887.

The event attracts millions of pilgrims across the world and starts a month earlier with pilgrims walking thousands of kilometers to Namugongo in honor of the Uganda martyrs, celebrated for bravery and courage in christian faith.

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