As the country continues to commemorate the life and ministry of Archbishop Janani Luwum, a lot of questions continue to linger in people’s minds. The most is who really the late Archbishop was.
How great is he that his recognition deserves a public holiday?
We profile the late Archbishop in this report
Janani Jakaliya Luwum was born in 1922 in the village of Mucwini in Kitgum District to Acholi parents. He attended Gulu High School and Boroboro Teacher Training College, after which he taught at a primary school. Luwum converted to Christianity in 1948, and in 1949 he went to Buwalasi Theological College.
Here he studied to be a lay reader, and then a deacon and was priested in 1956.
Early on, his leadership skill became apparent and was chosen to do a one year course at St Augustine’s College in Canterbury, UK.
He later went to Britain to study at the London College of Divinity, returning to Uganda to become Principal of Buwalasi Buwalasi Theological College in Mbale.
In 1966 he became Provincial Secretary and in 1969 he was consecrated bishop of Northern Uganda.
In 1974 Janani Luwum became Archbishop of the Metropolitan Province of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaire at a time when Idi Amin had overthrown the Government of Uganda and established a military dictatorship.
Janani Luwum succeeded his mentor Archbishop Erica Sabiti, who had also become the first Bishop of Kampala Diocese in 1972-1973. Bishop Janani Luwum thus became the second African Archbishop of the Province of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaire; and the second Bishop of Kampala Diocese.
Archbishop Luwum was a leading voice in criticizing the attrocities of the Idi Amin regime that assumed power in 1971. In 1977, Archbishop Luwum delivered a note of protest to Dictator Idi Amin against the policies of arbitrary killings and unexplained disappearances.
On 5 February 1977 the Archbishop’s house was raided by soldiers who said they had been ordered to look for arms.
On 16th February 1977, Archbishop Janani Luwum was martyred at Nakasero by the regime of President, Gen Idi Amin Dada.
Although the official account describes a car crash, it is generally accepted that he was murdered on the orders of then-President Idi Amin.
His body was taken to the Church yard at Wii Gweng, Muchwini, on 19 February, 1977 where he was later buried.
He is survived by a widow, Mama Mary Luwum, seven children, four sisters, two brothers and several grandchildren.
In 2015, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni declared 16th February a public holiday, in remembrance of the late Archbishop Janani Luwum.
This year’s celebrations will be held in Muchwini in Kitgum district where the body of the late Janan Luwum was hurriedly buried by Amin’s soldiers.