Who is Mukajanga? The Martyrs Chief Executioner

Mukajanga the martyrs cheif executioner

Getting deep into the story of the well celebrated Uganda martyrs, one of the names which is mentioned much is Mukajanga the martyr’s chief executioner. We are making a simple collection behind the commander for the execution who got direct commands from King Mwanga.

Mr Fredrick Nsubuga Gaggawala one of Mukajanja descendants affirms that Mukajanga was born in Buyonga-Kikandwa, Kakiri Town Council, Wakiso District, in the central part of Uganda. During his youthful days, around 1882, he was taken to serve the King’s palace as a royal guard.

Mukajanga was an ambitious man who worked hard his way through the ranks to become one of the most trusted and powerful servants in the kingdom.

He worked in Buganda Kingdom as a royal guard who was tasked to discipline errant subjects. He was also appointed by Kabaka Mwanga 11 as Buganda Kingdom’s chief executioner.

In 1884–1886, during the time of religious wars, the man was entrusted with a peculiar role as the King’s Chief Executor, a role he served without fail.

Upon getting the role, Mukajanga established his office near a water stream at the current Anglican Shrine in Namugongo; where he would get water for home consumption and clean his weapons after the execution, according to Nsubuga.

After the disobedience of 45 of the subjects defied the king, furiously the king ordered his blue-eyed man Mukajanga to discipline. And with the role, on the remarkable date of June 3, 1886, ruined the lives of 45 young Christians, 23 Anglicans and 22 Catholics at Namugongo and around 5 Muslim martyrs at Namugongo.

Mukajanga died at 14 years of age around the 1900s, but he had been converted to Christianity, and his name was transformed to Paul Kibuuka. It’s no shock that his linage has a lot of priests in it.

the tombs of Mukajjanga the martyrs cheif executioner

The name Namugongo

The place Namugongo was originally called Busale, and it was the chief execution ground of the Buganda Kingdom for all the subjects who committed capital offenses

The place was established by Kabaka Kyabagu, one of Buganda’s kings, around the mid-1700s. It was at this place that the chief executor’s office was located.

The name “Namugongo’ was derived from the word Omugongo, “human back’. Tenywa further noted that during the journey of the martyrs to the execution site, the prisoners went through a lot of torture, which included dragging them on their backs (Omugongo).

A saying that later came up was ‘Abasajja babatutte amugongo,” meaning ‘The prisoners were taken by their backs’.

The execution commenced in 1985 with the killing of three young men, Rugarama, Kakumba and Sserwanga at Busega, a Kampala suburb found in Rubaga Division.

The martyrs were beheaded, chopped into pieces, castrated and burned in various places including Namugongo, Busega, Nakivubo, Munyonyo, Mityana, Old Kampala, and Namanve among others.

According to Mukajanga descendants, he had wives and about 77 children although about 11 of his children were known to the public.

When Mukajanga died in 1900, he was buried in Busabala. However, two years later, year (1902) the remains of Mukajjanga were relocated to a 17-acre ancestral cemetery in Buyonga- Kikandwa Village, Kakiri Parish, Wakiso District in Central Uganda.



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