Bunyoro partners with Catholic Church to promote martyrs’ sites into tourism attractions

Bunyoro Kitara Premier, Andrew Byakutaaga (Right) hands over Omukama Iguru's portrait to Hoima Catholic Bishop, Vincent Kirabo, after the meeting at the Bishop's residence in Bujumbura, Hoima City.

Leaders of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom and Hoima Catholic Diocese have agreed to team up to promote sites of both religious and cultural importance to boost faith-based tourism.

Among those in point is Kooki site in Kakumiro district which is the birthplace of St Andrea Kaahwa who was martyred by King (Kabaka) Mwanga of Buganda for his faith in the Catholic Church on May 26, 1886 at Namugongo in Kampala.

During a consultative meeting initiated by Bunyoro kingdom, Mr John Apollo Rwamparo, the kingdom minister for tourism said if promoted jointly, faith-based tourism can translate into religious, economic and cultural development for the people of Bunyoro and Uganda at large.

Mr Rwamparo regretted that it is unfortunate that though some martyrs including Andrea Kaahwa, Anatole Kirigwaijo and Adolf Tibeyalirwa were Banyoro but major commemorations happen in Buganda than in Bunyoro.

He also noted that Nyabyeya Polish Church in Masindi district, too, needs to be promoted because it contains high value to the Catholic Church and reflects the historical hospitality of the Banyoro when it hosted the Polish refugees that fled World War II in 1943.

“It benefits Bunyoro kingdom by reflecting the longstanding hospitality and the church because they had religious attachments that have culminated into the church remaining,” he said.

Audio: Rwamparo on tourism (Runyoro/Rutooro)

In response, the Bishop of Hoima Catholic Diocese, Vincent Kirabo Amooti, welcomed the idea, pledging to work together with the kingdom on such initiatives due to their social-economic benefits.

He, however, said to the diocese, it means engaging a higher gear to identify more facts about the sites since the Catholic Church was already working hard to promote Kooki birthplace tourism site in memory of St Andrea Kaahwa.

Audio: Kirabo on tourism (Runyoro/Rutooro)

The kingdom Premier Andrew Byakutaaga, said the kingdom would soon champion the move to formalise the partnership with the Catholic Church and other religious institutions to work gently in relation to such developments.

This week, the kingdom launched consultative meetings with different stakeholders to develop a sustainable way of promoting the image of Bunyoro and social economic transformation of Bunyoro as a nation in Uganda.

Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom is among the cultural institutions with the most admirable culture and history based on her social, economic and military set-up before it was invaded by the British colonialists that triggered Africa’s second protracted rebellion against colonialism.

The events during the rebellion alone make a very exciting history that is now at risk of vanishing forever since older persons telling it orally are dying off.

There is urgent need to document that history or else the future might rely on scanty and sometimes biased history written by the traditional enemies of Bunyoro.


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