President Yoweri Museveni has described as tragic and shameful, the day Janani Luwum, the former Archbishop of The Church of Uganda was murdered.
The late Archbishop was not only for Uganda but had been donated by the Church to the neighboring countries including Rwanda, Burundi and former Zaire, Museveni stated.
Museveni who presided over the memorial celebrations for the late Archbishop Luwum said that he learnt of his murder on 16th February 1977 while training a group of soldiers in Mozambique to liberate Uganda from the reign of terror of under Iddi Amin.
He however adds that Luwum’s death motivated Ugandans in exile to get rid of Amin with the support of Tanzania.
President Museveni revealed that he appointed Ben Luwum, the son of Archbishop Minister after taking over government to honor the memory of Janani Luwum.
He said various challenges that faced government prevented the institutionalized care of the Widow and the children of Archbishop Janani Luwum and other heroes of Uganda.
He however did not state whether government will look after the family of Archbishop Janani Luwum.
The President granted requests by Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali to have February 16th declared a public holiday in memory of Archbishop Janani Luwum.
He also accepted to have a statue erected in the capital, Kampala in memory of the slain Archbishop.
Earlier, the family of Luwum had requested government to develop the site where the archbishop was buried into a modern resource center and school.
President Museveni agreed to the request adding that, they will also erect monuments at Mucwini where LRA rebels murdered dozens of people.
Who was Janani Luwum?
Archbishop – Martyr Janani Luwum was born in 1924 in Mucwini, Chua to Eliya Okello and Aireni Aciro. He was educated in Puranga, Kitgum and Gulu High School, and trained as a teacher at Boroboro in Lira.
He was a school teacher when in a dramatic conversion in the tradition of the East African revival he accepted Christ as his personal Savior on January 6 1948.
Luwum left teaching and in 1949 started training at Bishop Usher Wilson Theological College, Buwalasi. In 11956, he was ordained Priest of the then, upper Nile Diocese in St. Phillips Church, Gulu, thereafter serving as chaplain and parish priest in several church schools and parishes.
He went for one year Anglican leadership course at St Augustine’s College, Canterbury (1958-9).
On return he was appointed Tutor and then Deputy Principal of Buwalasi. He returned to England for a 3-year Diploma Programme at the London College of divinity, which he completed in 2 years.
On return home in June 1965, Rev. Janani Luwum was appointed Principal of Buwalasi.
In September 1966, he became Provincial Secretary of the Church of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga Zaire. On 25th January 1969, he was consecrated Bishop of Northern Uganda.
On 09t June 1974, Bishop Janani Luwum was installed as a successor to Archbishop Erica Sabiti, the first African Archbishop of the church of the Province of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga –Zaire (Eastern DRC).
On the 16th February 1977, Archbishop Janani Luwum was murdered at Nakasero by the then President of Uganda, Gen Idi Amin Dada.
This followed a period of great tension and ugly showdown between the church and the Amin regime. His body was secretly transported and dumped at the Church yard at Wii-Gweng, Mucwini in Kitgum District.
He was buried there on 19th February 1977. This has been his resting place ever since.
It was the searing martyrdom of St. Janani Luwum that marked the pivotal turning point for the Amin regime and the subsequent liberation of Uganda.
With the murder of the Archbishop, the international community was finally and dramatically jolted from its jadedness – even complacency –about the Amin regime.
An unthinkable line had been crossed by Amin. At the International level, the impact was huge.
This became a game changer. Archbishop Janani Luwum’s martyrdom prompted Canterbury Cathedral to establish the modern Martyrs Chapel in the Cathedral; this was dedicated in July 1978 during the Labeth conference.
In July 1998, St. Janani Luwum’s statue was unveiled on the West Wall of Westminster Abbey, London, among ten selected 20th Century Christian Martyrs.