More than 40,000 brave runners braved the heavy rains to take part in the 2018 edition of the Airtel Kabaka birthday run that took place on Sunday. This year’s run also celebrated 25 years of the Kabaka’s coronation anniversary.
The run that was flagged off at 7.00am by the Kabaka of Buganda; Ssabasajja Ronald Muwenda Mutebi, attracted notable participants from the kingdom including; the Katikkiro of Buganda, Owek. Charles Peter Mayiga, Prince David Wasajja and Princess Katrina Ssangalyambogo.
Prince David Wasajja, who was also the Chief Runner of the day ran the 21 kilometers race while Princess Katrina Sangalyambogo took on the 10 kilometers.
The Kabaka Birthday run is part of Airtel Uganda’s five-year partnership with Buganda kingdom to support four of its main annual activities including the Kabaka’s birthday celebrations, Kabaka coronation and Eid-El- Fitri.
Addressing the crowds after the run, Katikkiro of Buganda Owek. Charles Peter Mayiga applauded the participants for their enormous support to the Kingdom and its causes. “Each year, we note an increase in the number of partakers in the Airtel Kabaka birthday run. This year, we have more than 10,000 more participants than we did last year and on behalf of the kingdom, I commend you all for your consistent and growing support for the causes that we have chosen to support,” he said.
The Katitkiro also praised Airtel Uganda for partnering with the kingdom in advancing programs which benefit both the people of Buganda kingdom and the rest of the country.
“While we are commemorating milestones that are specific to Buganda kingdom, it is important to note that the proceeds from this year’s run will go to our efforts to fight sickle cell disease in Uganda. Partnerships such as the one we have with Airtel Uganda are invaluable because they allow us to make positive impact within our communities,” Mayiga added.
Addressing the media, Airtel Uganda’s Managing Director; Mr. V.G Somasekhar said that through its Corporate Social Responsibility programs, the company seeks to contribute to the socio-economic advancements of vast and different communities.
“One of our key beliefs lies in the power of partnerships. Together with the Buganda kingdom, we believe we can create awareness of the threats of sickle cell disease and empower people with information that will enable them to identify and prevent the sickle cells disease,” he noted.
“It is an honor to once again be part of a noble cause whose benefits will reach and help countless lives from across the country,” he concluded.
According to the Ministry of Health over 25,000 babies are born each year with sickle cell disease and over 80% die before their 5th birthday contributing to 15% infant mortality- 13.3% of the total population have sickle cell traits and 21% are within the Buganda region.