Five Families Donate 93 Acres of Land Towards Development of Luwum Memorial Site

The Diocesan Bishop of the Diocese of Kitgum the Rt. Rev. Wilson Kitara says with the land issues solved, the Church will continue to engage fruitfully with the Government of Uganda and other stakeholders on St. Janani Luwum Memorial and Pilgrimage site development.
Pilgrims pray at the graves of St Janani Luwum and wife Mary Luwum at Wii Gweng village in Mucwini Subcounty in Kitgum District.

The Church of Uganda has received a donation of land for the establishment of St Janani Luwum Memorial and Pilgrimage center at Wii Gweng village in Mucwini Sub-county, Kitgum District.

The land measuring 93.7 acres was donated by five family members from Wii Gweng Village, were the remains of the former Anglican Archbishop was buried. The land was formally handed to the Diocese of Kitgum on August 15 this year according to a press statement released by the Church of Uganda, Kitgum Diocese on Tuesday.

This comes nearly four years after the planned development of the site was held back over unresolved land disputes among some of the families that donated the land.

The Diocesan Bishop of the Diocese of Kitgum the Rt. Rev. Wilson Kitara says with the land issues resolved, the Church will continue to engage fruitfully with the Government of Uganda and other stakeholders on the St. Janani Luwum Memorial and Pilgrimage site development.

Bishop Kitara adds that they will also, pursue on the pledge made by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on the development of the site. In February 2017, during the 40th commemoration of St Janani Luwum, President Museveni in a message delivered by the former Vice President Edward Ssekandi pledged to build a monument and memorial centre in memory of the former Anglican Archbishop.

“St. Janani Luwum was a servant of God who had a great impact on the community. He had a clear vision and commitment to development particularly in the fields of spiritual growth, education for church workers, empowerment of women, poverty reduction, and rural development. Indeed, one of the fruits of his vision and enterprise is the St. Janani Luwum House situated in the middle of Kampala City," said Bishop.

Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, former Prime Minister now the special envoy for special duties in the office of the President who is also Co-Chair, National Organising Committee of the St Janani Luwum Memorial has welcomed the development.

‘‘I welcome the donation and thank the families for their generosity to the worthy cause of immortalizing the martyrdom of Archbishop Janani Luwum,’’ said Dr Rugunda adding that St Janani Luwum is a cause that ‘‘deserves the support of all people of goodwill.’’

Dr. Rugunda praised the close cooperation between the government, the church, and the local community in their work for the St Janani Luwum Memorial.

Ambassador Olara Otunnu, also Co- Chair of the memorial equally praised the families for the donation and urged stakeholders to move quickly with the memorial project.

“This is wonderful news and of great importance for the Memorial Project at Wii Gweng. I am thrilled and humbled by this remarkable demonstration of generosity and devotion to the sacred memory of St Janani. I now appeal to all stakeholders to move quickly and build on this momentum,’’ said Ambassador Otunnu.

Moses Denyeko, Chairman of the land donors says they made the donation as a contribution towards having a befitting commemoration of St Janani Luwum commensurate with his leadership, contribution and sacrifice for Uganda and the world.

The Master Plan for the development of the Wii Gweng was unveiled and presented at Wii Gweng on the 40th-anniversary commemoration on 16 February 2017. Phase one of the plan, the centerpiece of the project, will include the construction of a tomb for St Janani Luwum, his statue, a prayer arena, site boundary, a gateway, and pilgrims’ approach.

Phase two consists of five structures including a Memorial Museum, a High Polytechnic, a new primary school, a new secondary school, vendors park, and Mama Mary Luwum Hospital while phase three will consist of the construction of structures and spaces that will provide support services to pilgrims and tourists.

These include; accommodation, conference facilities, restaurants, and recreational spaces. Phase four will focus on building St Janani Luwum University.

St. Janani Luwum was the Anglican Archbishop of the ecclesiastical province of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Boga-Zaire.

He was murdered on 16th, February, 1977 on orders of former President Idi Amin on account of his outspoken preaching, unflinching stand for human rights, and growing popularity across Uganda.

In 1978, St. Janani’s martyrdom was accorded a recognition by Canterbury Cathedral with the dedication of 20th Century Martyrs Chapel. This was followed by a statue erected in his honour at London’s Westminster Abbey, in 1998. In Uganda, February 16 is a public holiday in his honour.