Friday February 17 2017

Govt to build Luwum memorial centre

Recognised. Vice President Edward Ssekandi

Recognised. Vice President Edward Ssekandi hands over a certificate of recognition to Ms Mary Luwum, the widow of former Archbishop Janani Luwum, on Thursday. PHOTO BY JULIUS OCUNGI 



President Museveni has promised that government will build a monument and memorial centre for the martyred Anglican Archbishop Janani Luwum in Mucwini Sub-county, Kitgum District, to keep his memory alive.

This was disclosed in the President’s speech read by Vice President Edward Ssekandi during celebrations to mark 40 years since the martyrdom of the Anglican archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Boga Zaire, held in Mucwini Sub-county, Kitgum District yesterday.

Thousands of people, including top Uganda government officials and foreign representatives turned up for the commemoration prayer led by Church of Uganda Archbishop Stanley Ntagali.

Arcbishop Luwum was killed on the orders of former Ugandan president Idi Amin on February 17, 1977, following his unbridled criticisms of the excesses of the regime, which in turn accused him of collaboration with to overthrow the government.

President Museveni hailed Luwum as an uncompromising Christian soldier who was armed with integrity and boldness despite the unsecure regime of Idi Amin.
He said the archbishop stood steadfast with the oppressed citizen unto his death, which principle has earned him a place among the saints.

Mr Museveni said at the time when Ugandans continued to flee into exile because of the excesses of the Amin regime, Archbishop Luwum openly criticised the ruthless and arbitrary killings and unexplained disappearances of Ugandans and foreigners alike under Amin.

“In Uganda his [Archbishop Luwum’s] legacy stands out as a spiritual leader, voice of the voiceless, a father and a man of compassion who portrayed the image of true Christianity and leadership,” Mr Museveni said.

He said Luwum will always be remembered for his principles, aspirations, and values he stood for, adding that he is a gift to Uganda.

“It’s indeed humbling to witness procession from a cross-section of Christians as a way of remembering him but on the other hand as a demonstration that his [Amin’s] brutal murder was horrible and should be condemned throughout generations,” Mr Museveni said.

The President commended the Church for canonising Luwum and also recognising his special value and sacrifice to humanity.
Archbishop Ntagali also hailed Luwum, calling him a Shepherd who laid down his life for his flock.

“He will always be remembered as a dedicated and exemplary person who inspires to carry on the word of Christ,” Archbishop Ntagali said.

He said the Church of Uganda has already decided to name Church House in Kampala, which is under construction, in honour of Archbishop Luwum.

Although President Museveni didn’t disclose how much the government will inject into building the monument and memorial centre, neither the timeframe for the work, his past promise during last year’s commemoration to develop Wii-gweng, where Archbishop Luwum was laid to rest, is yet to pass.

The problems

In 2015, the President directed ministries of Education and Gender, Labour and Social Development to erect a statue in Kampala in honour of Arcbishop Luwum. He also promised that a museum would be built in Mucwini in remembrance of 30 people killed by LRA rebels in 2002.