Joy as Amin’s kinsmen, Luwum family reconcile

Efforts. Mr Olara Otunnu is consoled after breaking down at the commemoration prayers held for Archbishop Janani Luwum in Kitgum District on Saturday. PHOTO BY JULIUS OCUNGI

What you need to know:

  • Background. The late Archbishop Janani Luwum was killed in 1977 by former president Idi Amin’s henchmen.

Kitgum. It was an emotional moment on Saturday after Idi Amin’s kinsmen from Koboko District asked for forgiveness from the family of late Archbishop Janani Luwum over the latter’s murder.
Luwum, who was the archbishop of the Province of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaire, was killed in 1977 by former president Idi Amin’s henchmen.
During the 42nd commemoration prayers held to mark Luwum’s death in Wii Gweng Village, Mucwini Sub-county in Kitgum District at the weekend, Christians from Koboko Archdeaconry led by Rev Canon Stephen Gelenga said the community still feels the impact of what happened during Amin’s regime.
“As Christians from the Kakwa Community, we said we should put aside what happened in the past and let it die completely,” he said.
According to Rev Canon Gelenga, the Christians also met with Luwum’s widow at their family home in Wii Gweng where they held prayers together.

“Mama Luwum forgave us; we slept at their home, we asked for forgiveness on behalf of the people who sinned. We also want to forgive those who wronged us during the time,” he said.
This left many of Luwum close family members and relatives, among them former presidential candidate Olara Otunnu, in tears, as they exchanged hugs and handshakes with Christians from Koboko.
Lango Anglican Diocese Bishop Alfred Olwa, in his sermon, said it is time for Christians to forget the past.
Bishop Olwa lauded Luwum’s contribution towards fighting injustice. Retired Kitgum Anglican Diocese Bishop Macleod Baker Ochola said the move by Amin’s kinsmen to ask for forgiveness was the right course.
“After 40 years, the people of Kakwa asked for forgiveness for the killing of Archbishop Janani Luwum, the people of Arua, Koboko and the people of Uganda are witnessing this great miracle happening in Mucwini,” Bishop Ochola said.
President Museveni, in a speech read by Minister for Presidency Esther Mbayo, described Archbishop Luwum as an icon who stood firm on speaking against injustice.
He said Luwum challenged tribalism at the time the vice was at its peak in the country.
According to Ms Mbayo, the government will come up with a budget to support the annual commemoration at Mucwini.