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Archbishop Janani Luwum Did Not Die in Vain- President Museveni

But Museveni criticized President Idi Amin for fearing criticism. This he said was an act of cowardice adding that there was no need for the former President to end the life of the Archbishop and the other senior members of government, over such issues.
Portrait of Former Archbishop Janani Luwum

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President Yoweri Museveni has said that the late Janani Luwum, the former archbishop of the Church of Uganda did not die in vain. But his deeds laid a firm foundation on which his predecessors are standing, more than 40 years after his death.

Museveni made the statement during the official ceremony for the celebration of the life of Janani Luwum which was ended on this day, in 1976, at the hands of then-president Field Marshall Iddi Amin Dada.  He was murdered together with the former Inspector General of Police Wilson Erinayo Oryema, and former Defence Minister Charles Oboth Ofumbi for criticizing the excesses of Idi Amin's regime.

The regime was characterized by immense suffering, violence and abuses of human rights. During this time,  the economy collapsed, inflation rose and thousands were brutally murdered. According to a report by the Anglican Focus, Ugandans at the time survived by not trusting anyone, putting their heads down and trying to avoid being noticed.

But Museveni criticized President Idi Amin for fearing criticism. This he said was an act of  cowardice adding that there was no need for the former President to end the life of the Archbishop and the other senior members of government, over such issues.

“Just ignore him or if you criticize me…I also criticize them. You tell a lie, I say…Your Grace, you have told a lie. Why kill a person because of criticizing you, why? That means you are insecure, that means you are guilty,” Museveni said. He added that the excesses in the government then was a result of the structure of the State because the country had a lot of illiterate people like Idi Amin who were manning powerful structures like the army

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Museveni reiterated his earlier statements that no one will disturb the peace in the country and asked religious leaders to encourage peace and being fair in their criticism.

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He said that the government and the Church were interfacing to ensure infrastructure development at Mucwini, in Kitgum district where Archbishop Janani Luwum was eventually laid to rest. The government in 2017 pledged to construct a monument in recognition of the Archbishop’s sacrifice as well as other infrastructure to develop his burial ground into a pilgrimage site.

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The President’s statement followed reports that of the Bishop of Kitgum Diocese Rt. Rev. Wilson Kitara who said that they are ready to start the long term development of the St. Janan Luwum Martyrs site. He added that the community in Mucwini has already given them land for infrastructural development.

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The Archbishop of the Province of the Church of Uganda Rt. Rev. Dr Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu noted the reported increase in murders, abductions and Kidnaps, and appealed to Police to ensure that all missing persons are accounted for. “We remember all the women who disappeared and were later found dead. We remember stories of boda-boda riders being hit by iron bar hitmen simply for the value of the used motorcycle,” he said.

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Speaking about Luwum, Archbishop Kaziimba described him as someone who looked at life as something that was not cheap and that this motivated his commitment to love, peace and justice. He also said that Luwum had special love for children and youth and therefore a need to continue promoting education and raising standards in all schools.

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In his sermon, the Bishop of Lango Diocese Rt. Rev. Alfred Olwa spoke of Janani Luwum as a good shepherd who always spoke out against gross human abuses. But, he added, that many Ugandans are carrying deep wounds today, and discouraged in what they are doing due to forceful land evictions, unemployment and other things.

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He said that these wounds have caused unimaginable pain among Ugandans and therefore a need to lead them to Jesus, reconciliation and teach everyone to be a hard worker like Janani Luwum did.

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