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Julius Nyerere’s wife in Uganda to honor the Martyrs


Maria Gabriel Magige Waningu. Courtesy Photo.

Maria Gabriel Magige Waningu, wife to former president of Tanzania, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere (RIP), has made a pilgrimage to the Anglican and Catholic Martyrs’ shrines here in Uganda.

A state aided news daily has reported that Maria Gabriel Magige Waningu, better known  as maama Nyerere with her entourage visited the shrines in Namugongo – Wakiso district on Wednesday.

They were received by the rector, Fr Vincent Lubega and Fr Augustine Bukenya, before entering the Basilica (Catholic Shrine).

Maama Nyerere was received by Rev. John Wilson Wabwire at the Anglican Martyrs shrine.

The 88-year-old who lost her husband 19 years ago is reported to have spent almost 40 minutes engrossed in prayer.

“I am faithful like others who believe in Uganda Martyrs and I regard them as my heroes. That is why I am here for a special pilgrimage because I know that they shed their blood in these two places.” she was quoted as saying.

Speaking to media reporters, one of the delegates from Tanzania, Deo Kalurama explained that Maama Nyerere “never misses the Martyrs Day celebrations in order pray for her husband’s beatification.”

She reiterated her strong belief in the martyrs.

The Uganda Martyrs are a group of 23 Anglican and 22 Catholic converts to Christianity in the history of Uganda, who were executed between 31 January 1885 and 27 January 1887. They were killed on orders of the then King of Buganda, Mwanga II.

They were beatified by  Pope Benedict XV and canonized 18th October 1964, by Pope Paul VI.

In Uganda, 3rd June is a public holiday as millions of Christians worldwide flock the country to honor and commemorate the Martyrs.

In 2014, President Museveni expressed interest in having Julius Nyerere canonized.

He said he worked with the late Nyerere for a long time and “indeed Mwalimu deserved to qualify as a saint.”

President Museveni said that while people in some countries were engaged in sectarian conflicts, along religious and tribal leanings, Nyerere united the people of his country.

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