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Janani Luwum

Janani Luwum

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Janani Jakaliya Luwum was the Archbishop
Archbishop
An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

 of the Church of Uganda
Church of Uganda
The Church of the Province of Uganda is a member church of the Anglican Communion. Currently there are 34 dioceses which make up the Church of Uganda, each headed by a bishop....

 from 1974 to 1977 and one of the most influential leaders of the modern church in Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. He was murdered in 1977 by either Idi Amin
Idi Amin
Idi Amin Dada was a military leader and President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979. Amin joined the British colonial regiment, the King's African Rifles in 1946. Eventually he held the rank of Major General in the post-colonial Ugandan Army and became its Commander before seizing power in the military...

 personally or by Amin's henchmen.

Early life and career


Luwum was born in the village of Mucwini in the Kitgum District
Kitgum District
Kitgum District is a district in Northern Uganda. It is named after its 'chief town' of Kitgum, where the district headquarters is located.-Location:...

 to Acholi parents. He attended Gulu High School and Boroboro Teacher Training College, after which he taught at a primary school. Luwum converted to Christianity in 1948, and in 1949 he went to Buwalasi Theological College. In 1950 he was attached to St. Philip's Church in Gulu
Gulu
Gulu is a city in Northern Uganda. It is the commercial and administrative centre of Gulu District. The city is located at 2˚46'48N 32˚18'00E, on the metre gauge railway from Tororo to Pakwach. Gulu is located approximately , by road, north of Kampala, Uganda's capital and largest city...

. He was ordained
Ordination
In general religious use, ordination is the process by which individuals are consecrated, that is, set apart as clergy to perform various religious rites and ceremonies. The process and ceremonies of ordination itself varies by religion and denomination. One who is in preparation for, or who is...

 a deacon
Deacon
Deacon is a ministry in the Christian Church that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions...

 in 1953, and the following year he was ordained a priest
Priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

. He served in the upper Nile Diocese
Diocese
A diocese is the district or see under the supervision of a bishop. It is divided into parishes.An archdiocese is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or had importance due to size or historical significance...

 of Uganda and later in the Diocese of Mbale
Mbale
Mbale is a city in Eastern Uganda. It is the main municiplal, administrative and commercial center of Mbale District and the surrounding sub-region. The district is named after the town.-Location:...

. In 1961 he was consecrated
Consecration
Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service, usually religious. The word "consecration" literally means "to associate with the sacred". Persons, places, or things can be consecrated, and the term is used in various ways by different groups...

 bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 of the Anglican Church Province
Ecclesiastical Province
An ecclesiastical province is a large jurisdiction of religious government, so named by analogy with a secular province, existing in certain hierarchical Christian churches, especially in the Catholic Church and Orthodox Churches and in the Anglican Communion...

 of northern Uganda at Gulu. After five years he was appointed archbishop of the Metropolitan Province of Uganda, Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

, Burundi
Burundi
Burundi , officially the Republic of Burundi , is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its capital is Bujumbura...

 and Boga-Zaire, becoming the second African to hold this position.

Arrest and death


Archbishop Luwum was a leading voice in criticizing the excesses of the Idi Amin regime that assumed power in 1971. In 1977, Archbishop Luwum delivered a note of protest to dictator Idi Amin against the policies of arbitrary killings and unexplained disappearances. Shortly afterwards the archbishop and other leading churchmen were accused of treason
Treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

.

On 16 February 1977, Luwum was arrested together with two cabinet ministers, Erinayo Wilson Oryema
Erinayo Wilson Oryema
Erinayo Wilson Oryema was Uganda's first African Inspector General of Police , Minister of Land, Mineral, and Water Resources and Minister of Land, Housing and Physical Planning...

 and Charles Oboth Ofumbi. The same day Idi Amin convened a rally in Kampala
Kampala
Kampala is the largest city and capital of Uganda. The city is divided into five boroughs that oversee local planning: Kampala Central Division, Kawempe Division, Makindye Division, Nakawa Division and Lubaga Division. The city is coterminous with Kampala District.-History: of Buganda, had chosen...

 with the three accused present. A few other "suspects" were paraded forth to read out "confessions" implicating the three men. The archbishop was accused of being an agent of the exiled former president Milton Obote
Milton Obote
Apolo Milton Obote , Prime Minister of Uganda from 1962 to 1966 and President of Uganda from 1966 to 1971, then again from 1980 to 1985. He was a Ugandan political leader who led Uganda towards independence from the British colonial administration in 1962.He was overthrown by Idi Amin in 1971, but...

, and for planning to stage a coup. The next day, Radio Uganda
Uganda Broadcasting Corporation
Uganda Broadcasting Corporation is the public broadcaster of Uganda. It was founded as a result of the "Uganda Broadcasting Corporation Act, 2004", which merged the operations of Uganda Television and Radio Uganda...

 announced that the three had been killed when the car transporting them to an interrogation center had collided with another vehicle. The accident, Radio Uganda reported, had occurred when the victims had tried to overpower the driver in an attempt to escape. When Luwum's body was released to his relatives, it was riddled with bullets. Henry Kyemba
Henry Kyemba
Henry Kyemba is a Ugandan political figure who held several high positions and finally became Minister of Health during Uganda's rule by Idi Amin. He is also the author of State of Blood, a 1977 book he wrote after his flight from Uganda that describes Amin's tyrannical rule.-References:...

, Minister of Health in Amin's government, later wrote in his book A State of Blood, that “The bodies were bullet-riddled. The archbishop had been shot through the mouth and at least three bullets in the chest. The ministers had been shot in a similar way but one only in the chest and not through the mouth. Oryema had a bullet wound through the leg.”

According to the later testimony of witnesses, the victims had been taken to an army barracks, where they were bullied, beaten and finally shot. Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

magazine said "Some reports even had it that Amin himself had pulled the trigger, but Amin angrily denied the charge, and there were, of course, no firsthand witnesses".

Janani Luwum was survived by a widow, Mary Lawinyo Luwum and nine children. He was buried at his home village of Mucwini in the Kitgum District
Kitgum District
Kitgum District is a district in Northern Uganda. It is named after its 'chief town' of Kitgum, where the district headquarters is located.-Location:...

. He is recognised as a martyr
Martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

 by the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 and the Episcopal Church (United States)
Episcopal Church (United States)
The Episcopal Church is a mainline Anglican Christian church found mainly in the United States , but also in Honduras, Taiwan, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, the British Virgin Islands and parts of Europe...

 and his death is commemorated on 17 February as a Lesser Festival. His statue is among the Twentieth Century Martyrs on the front of Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

.

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