The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali has urged Ugandans to celebrate Archbishop Janani Luwum whose courage and vision will live for generations.
The call comes three days to St. Janani Luwum Day, a special time designated to remember the life of the Church leader who was killed by operatives of the Amin regime on 16 February 1977 amid accusations that he was in contact with Forces that were planning to overthrow the government.
However, an official report issued by the then government of Uganda indicated that he died in an accident. Soldiers secretly transported his desecrated body to Mucwini – Kitgum district, his ancestral home and hurriedly buried him.
Luwum became Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaire in 1974; three years after Idi Amin overthrew the Milton Obote government. But tension between the Church and state worsened as religious leaders concurrently spoke against the cruel Amin regime. Luwum was at the forefront in condemning bad leadership.
Archbishop Ntagali says Luwum’s courage should be celebrated because he stood firm in tough times and preached the gospel uncompromisingly. “He spoke the truth, walked the truth and died for the truth,” Ntagali said while speaking to the media ahead of Friday celebrations. In celebration of his Life, the day of his death was declared a public holiday.
This public holiday, Ntagali said, is an opportunity for young people who did not see Luwum, to celebrate his life. Ntagali noted Luwum does not only inspire Church leaders but all Ugandans.
Ntagali said Luwum conceived the idea of building Church House, the 16-storey building situated on Kampala Road opposite Bank of Uganda. He said the provincial Church assembly last month voted to name the building after Luwum.
State Minister for Ethics and Integrity Fr Simon Lokodo says Luwum was a man who cherished the truth genuinely. “He was a man of honesty who walked the talk,” Lokodo said.
The government celebrates Luwum, Lokodo says because he did not sit back to see poor governance demolish Uganda. Lokodo says Luwum is celebrated for denouncing, shunning and condemning poor governance which prompted Amin to kill him.
Lokodo said Luwum left Ugandans with a legacy of speaking out. He said government welcomes corrective statements from Ugandans whenever it goes astray.
The main celebrations will be in Mucwini, Kitgum, and Luwum’s ancestral home where he was buried.