KAMPALA, August 29, 2018 – Over the past 15 years, Uganda sports journalists, under the unifying umbrella body, Uganda Sports Press Association (USPA) has always reserved a special moment to honour their fallen gallant associates.
The 2018 requiem service was held at the Christ the King Church in the heart of the Ugandan capital, Kampala on Wednesday, 29 August.
In his sermon, Reverend Father Arthur Richard Muwanga, the main celebrant of the 2018 USPA requiem mass at Christ the King Church stressed the significance of bestowing respect upon the deceased.
“In honour of our departed colleagues, it gives us, the living, a sense of rest. Life is a journey we have to move and when we cry for the dead, they rejoice in Heaven. There are so many apartments reserved for us in Heaven,” Father Muwanga noted as he referred to the Gospel according to St John, chapter 14, verses 1-6.
This year’s service was graced by among others, the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Edgar Watson, his Cricket Association counterpart Martin Ondeko, some of the past USPA presidents (Geofrey Kulubya, Douglas Mazune, Ndiwalana Kiwanuka, Mark Namanya and founding USPA chairman Fredrick Ssekitto) as well as a handful of members.
This requiem mass is part of the activities for the USPA annual road safety week, a programme started following the death of four sports journalists (Simon Peter Ekarot, Leo Kabunga, Francis Batte Junior and Kenneth Matovu) on 21st August 2001.
Back then, these journalists, all USPA Executive Committee members perished in a nasty road accident at Lugazi as they returned from Jinja where they were on official duties for the association.
Since that fateful year, USPA has been commemorating the lives of these colleagues with special prayers, as well as other members in the profession who have lost their dear lives.
Over the years, the sports journalists have remained united in the cause.
In his address to the congregation after the mass, seating USPA president Sabiiti Muwanga encouraged members of the association to maintain the norm of praying for the departed colleagues.
“I thank all the members who have come for these prayers. I encourage many to keep up with the trend. This idea was mooted 15 years ago and we should carry on for the years to come,” Muwanga stated.
He also passed on a token of appreciation to the USPA partners in this drive (Standard Chartered Bank, City Tyres, Uganda National Roads Authority, Uganda Blood Transmission Services and KCCA FC).
Muwanga delivered a cautious message to the general public on proper road usage to avoid accidents as he also optimally utilized the platform to condemn the brutal attacks on journalists by the police.
USPA Vice President Ritah Aliguma lauded the Rev. Father for the rich sermon delivered and also appreciated the association partners in this noble cause.
“I thank the Rev. Father Arthur Richard Muwonge for the message. I take this opportunity to thank all the USPA partners in the road safety campaign. I urge the general public to be very sensitive while using the road.”
All the members of the congregation lighted their candles, a symbolic sign of honouring the departed, as the organizing secretary Franciso Bwambaale read aloud the names for some of the departed sports journalists.
Namanya, the USPA President Muwanga took over from, delivered the vote of thanks in his closing remarks;
“As per the USPA motto Unity and Brotherhood, we find bond in this association that has passed the test of time. This is one of the cherished activities personally as a USPA member. I thank you all for honouring the day.”
This year’s campaign has been spiced up with a blood donation drive intended to raise the blood quantity in the country vis-à-vis the challenging and overwhelming demand for blood by the general public.
The road safety week will climax on Saturday, 1st September 2018 with a public function at Lugazi.
Some of the departed Sports Journalists remembered:
Simon Peter Ekarot
Francis Batte Junior
Andrew Patrick Luwandagga
Andy Simon Kaweesa
Paul Waibale Senior
John Bagenda Mpiima
Bashir Khan Lugudo
Mark Augustine Makumbi