UGANDA: AMIN’S KINSMEN APOLOGIZE FOR ARCHBISHOP JANANI LUWUM MURDER; RECONCILES WITH HIS FAMILY

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Thousands of Christians respond to alter call at Archbishop Luwum memorial

“What happened during the reign of Idi Amin, who is my kinsman, we still feel the pain after forty years. As the new generation, we need to put to end all the bad past and we move forward as reconciled Ugandans. Ugandans cannot heal this country if we pay evil for evil. That is why we invited Ben Okello-Luwun to Koboko on January 24, 2019 because we want a new beginning”

“Memorial is good because it looks backward, but the tragedy is that we must not get stuck in the bad history of the past. We should learn from the past but we should now learn from the former bad things. Do not dwell in the past but look at the new thing which is the future”

KITGUM-UGANDA: Kinsmen ofUganda Dictator, Field Marshal Idi Amin Dada, has offered an emotional apology to the people of Acholi for the February 16, 1977 murder of their son, the late Archbishop of the Anglican Province of the Church of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga Zaire, Janani Luwum by Idi Amin.

The apology was delivered by Reverend Canon Stephen Gelenga, who belongs to the Kakwa tribe where dictator Amin also belong in West Nile during the fourth-second commemoration of his martyrdom at Wii-gweng village, Mucwini sub-county in Kitgum district.

“What happened during the reign of Idi Amin, who is my kinsman, we still feel the pain after forty years. As the new generation, we need to put to end all the bad past and we move forward as reconciled Ugandans. Ugandans cannot heal this country if we pay evil for evil. That is why we invited Ben Okello-Luwum to Koboko on January 24, 2019 because we want a new beginning” said the man of God, drawing tears of forgiveness from most of the pilgrims on February 16, 2019. 

On February 16, 1977, Archbishop Janani Luwum was murdered at Nakasero by then President of Uganda, Field Marshal Idi Amin Dada. This followed a period of great tension and ugly showdown between the Church and the Amin regime. His body was secretly transported and dumped at the church yard at Wii-gweng, Mucwini, Kitgum district/ he was buried there on February 19, 1977. This has been his resting place since.

It was the searing martyrdom of St. Janani that marked the pivotal point for the Amin regime and the subsequent liberation of Uganda. With the murder of the Archbishop, the international; community was finally and dramatically jolted from its jadedness even complacency about the Amin regime. An unthinkable line had been crossed by Amin. At the international level, the impact was huge. It became a game changer.

Archbishop Janani Luwum’s martyrdom prompted Canterbury Cathedral to establish the Modern Martyrs Chapel in the Cathedral; this was dedicated in July 1978 during the Lambeth Conference. In July 1998, St. Janani Luwum’s statue was unveiled on the West Wall of Westminister Abbey, London, among ten selected twentieth Century Martyrs.

The over thirty pilgrims from Koboko also visited the widow of Archbishop Janani Luwum, Mary Luwum and her siblings on the eve of the commemoration and had dinner with the family from where they requested for reconciliation and forgiveness with the family.

Retired first bishop of the Diocese of Kitgum, bishop Macleod Baker Ocholla II, who led the reconciliation prayers, appealed to the family of the late Archbishop to accept Amin’s kinsmen as their own brothers and sisters now that the family has given them ‘food to eat’ as Acholi culture dictates.

Bishop of Lango Diocese, Professor Alfred Olwa, preached on the theme” “Do not dwell in the past”, quoting from the book of Prophet Isiah, chapter 43; verses 16-20.

“Memorial is good because it looks backward, but the tragedy is that we must not get stuck in the bad history of the past. We should learn from the past but we should now learn the former bad things. Do not dwell in the past but look at the new thing which is the future”, said the bishop.

Archbishop of the Church of Uganda appealed to Ugandans to emulate the courage of Janani Luwum, adding that he was not afraid to point out the political and social evils of his time and that he also sacrifice life for the truth. He also appealed to Christians not to keep quiet if the people are suffering.

In his letter, read by Minister Ms. Esther Bayo, General Museveni described the late Archbishop Janani Luwum as ‘an icon who stood for truth and respect for human rights for all, a great martyr and a compelling model for all.’

That afternoon, at Mucwini, hundreds of Christians thronged the pavilion responding to the alter call by bishop Olwa.

 

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