UGANDA: ANGLICAN CHURCH OF UGANDA WANTS “AMIN’S SLAUGHTER HOUSE” TURNED INTO A PILGRIMAGE SITE

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The dean of the province of the Anglican Church of Uganda and caretaker bishop of Diocese of Kitgum, Bishop Charles Odur-Kami, assures residents of Mucwini that developing Nakasero killing field will not affect developments at Mucwini.

“The Provincial Assembly has already passed a resolution requesting government to allow former Amin’s State Research Bureau headquarters to be gazzetted as a religious tourism and pilgrimage site. That means tourists and pilgrims will not only have access to the site where he was buried here at Mucwini nearly forty years ago, but also to the house where he was murdered.”

MUCWINI-UGANDA: As the countdown to commemorate the 40th anniversary since Saint Janani Luwum, one of the 20th Century Martyrs, draws closer on February 16, 2017, the Anglican Church of Uganda has formally requested State House to turn the Nakasero State Research Bureau, the house where Luwum was murdered by Uganda dictator Idi Amin in 1977, into a religious pilgrimage site.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Reverend Dr. Justin Welby will be the main celebrant at next year’s event, which will be held at Wii-Gweng, in Mucwini, Kitgum district which is located 126 kilometers from Gulu in the provincial town of northern Uganda. President Yoweri Museveni and other dignitaries, both local and international, have confirmed they will attend the celebration.

In 2015, President Yoweri Museveni declared February 16, the day that Janani Loum was killed as a public holiday in Uganda named as St. Janani Luwum day. His remains were interned three days after his murder on February 19, 1977 at Mucwini which aslo has been gazzetted as a Pilgrimage and Religious Tourism site.

This request to gazette Nakasero as a pilgrimage site was revealed in a meeting of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), which was held on Sunday, October 30, 2016 at St. Paul’s Church of Uganda, Wii-gweng in Mucwini by Mr. Sunday Abwola, a member of the National Organizing Committee (NOC).

Abwola  reported that the Provincial Assembly of the Church of Uganda has already tasked Archbishop Stanley Ntagali to meet Uganda’s Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda over the matter.

“The Provincial Assembly has already passed a resolution requesting government for former Amin’s State Research Bureau headquarters to be gazzetted as a religious tourism and pilgrimage site. That means tourists and pilgrims will not only have access to the site where he was buried here at Mucwini nearly forty years ago, but also to the house where he was murdered,” says Abwola.

This new development did not go down well with some members in the meeting arguing that the Province is trying to draw focus away from where Luwum was buried in Mucwini in northern Uganda to the center-Kampala where he was murdered just like when they proposed to relocate the body from where he was buried to Namirembe Cathedral in Kampala, a proposal rejected by Luwum’s family members.

It took retired bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda, Bishop Benoni Ogwal Abwang, who was at the Sunday meeting together with caretaker Bishop Charles Odur-Kami of the diocese of Kitgum to assure the meeting that the proposal has not yet been approved by the government and that it will not affect development plans of the area.

“God does not do things without plan. In 1974, when I was already bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda, it was not me as diocesan bishop, but archbishop Janani Luwum, who came and commissioned this church which you see standing here which he requested the late Ezira Kibwota to build because God had already planned that they would both, be buried at the church yard”, says bishop Ogwal.

Bishop Odur-Kami assured the meeting that the proposal to have Nakasero State Research Bureau site where Luwum was murdered turned into a religious pilgrimage and tourist site was only a proposal which can be accepted or rejected by government and that it should not affect the development plans at Wii-Gweng, Mucwini.

The Diocese of Kitgum, which owns the site where Archbishop Janani Luwum was buried, plans to build a University, a Hospital, Martyrs Village, a Television station and a Museum.

Bishop Odur-Kami appealed to the chairman, LOC, Mr. Ocan Michael to feed him with correct information about the progress of the organization of the annual event so that it does not bring shame to the diocese. He appealed to the clergy of Kitgum to come on board to make the day colorful, saying at first some clergies had misunderstood the organization thinking it was taking away their roles as clergies.

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