South Sudan President Salva Kiir and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame are expected in Uganda Friday for the Pope’s open-air Mass Saturday, which President Yoweri Museveni will attend.
Uganda’s State Minister for International Affairs Okello-Oryem, told the media that President Kiir confirmed his trip while that of the Rwandan leader was in balance following the unfortunate loss of his mother Asteria Rutagambwa.
“We are expecting both, but it is only President Kiir who has confirmed that he will b,” he said.
Pope Francis will Saturday morning hold a two-hour Mass at Uganda Martyrs Shrine in Namugongo, some 15km northeast of Kampala.
Organisers expect anywhere between 1.5-2 million people to attend, although the revamped shrine is unlikely to accommodate such population at once.
The venue was due to open at midday, Friday, for pilgrims to begin converging before it closes to the public at 6am Saturday.
The Mass begins at 9:30am (+3GMT) after the Pontiff’s half-hour visit to the nearby Protestant Martyrs Shrine.
The Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC), the apex in-country forum of the church leaders, said the Holy Father was visiting to commemorate what is now the 51st anniversary of the Uganda Catholics Martyrs canonised in 1964.
There are 24 Catholic and 25 Protestants martyrs – all killed in late 1800s for defying Kabaka Mwanga II’s edit to them to abdicate Christianity.
SOURCE: AFRICA REVIEW