Rev. Fr. Simon Lokodo, Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity, says on Friday 16th February 2018, all roads will lead to Wii Gweng, Mucwini, Kitgum District to observe the 41st anniversary of the Martyrdom of Archbishop Janani Luwum.
This is the time for all people of God; young and old, from all religious backgrounds and faiths, from all tribes and nationalities, to come together and thank the Lord God Almighty for the gift of St. Janani Luwum to Uganda and the world at large.
Who is Archbishop Janani Luwum?
Archbishop Janani Luwum was born in 1924 in Mucwini among the Acholi people.
He went through all stages of education at the time until he took on his first calling as a teacher at Boroboro College, Boroboro Parish in Lira District.
On 6th January 1948, in dramatic conversion, Janani Luwum accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour and it is then that he switched to Church Ministry.
Janani Luwum served in almost all key positions in the church ranging from Principal of Buwalasi Theological College, Provincial Secretary at Namirembe, Bishop of Northern Uganda and in June 1974 following unanimous election; he was installed as Archbishop of the ecclesiastical Province, then covering Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaire (Eastern DR Congo).
He was the second African Archbishop of the Province of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaire; and the second Bishop of Kampala Diocese.
Why Commemorate St. Janani Luwum Martyrdom?
“Comrades, you must be asking yourselves why it is significant to mark the 16th February as an important day in Uganda,” Lokodo said.
He added: “You may know Archbishop Janani Luwum served during the times of turmoil in Uganda; specifically under the reign of the Gen. Idi Amin Dada. This however did not hinder him from standing out for the values that we up to date, strive to uphold in this country.”
He was known for defending the truth at all times irrespective of the repercussions.
His ability to speak the truth against the brutality towards Ugandans exhibited during Amin’s regime was a sign of unwavering courage.
He strived to see youth, women and men involved in gainful employment; thus promote hard work for self-reliance.
He was passionate about development in not only Acholi Sub-Region, but in all areas where he served, with emphasis on poverty reduction and rural development.
For the love of his country, and the love for the work of God, he willingly took on the responsibilities given to him not only for his wellbeing but also for the community he served.
“Through the blood that he shed on 16th January 1977, today we still sense the Spirit of belonging and unity of purpose, not only among the community in Acholi Sub-Region in Uganda, but also beyond boarders.”
Blessed Janani Luwum’s statue is stationed on the West Wall of Westminster Abbey, London, among statues of 10 other 20th Century Martyrs, since July 1998.
In summary, Archbishop Janani Luwum is a reflection of the ten (10) National Ethical Values that are embedded in the National Ethical Values Policy that was developed in 2003 by the Government through the Directorate for Ethics and Integrity.
The Policy was a response to the public outcry on persistent degeneration of moral behaviour, unprofessional conduct and general unethical and dishonest behaviour in both public and private affairs in Uganda
The policy consists of ten (10) National Values which are practiced and contained in the National Laws, Customs and Traditions of the people of Uganda.
They include: Respect for Humanity and Environment; Honesty: uphold and defend the truth at all times; Justice and Fairness in dealing with others; Hard work for self-reliance; Integrity: Moral uprightness and sound character; Creativity and Innovativeness; Social Responsibility; Social Harmony; National Unity and National consciousness and Patriotism.
In recognition of the values Archbishop Janani displayed during his time in the service for the nation therefore, H.E. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni declared 16th February as a national day.
“This is an opportunity to reflect on the life of Archbishop Janani Luwum and strive to bring positive change in our lives and the lives of those around us.”
“I urge all Ugandans, whether physically in Mucwini or not, to take a moment and ask themselves, ‘if today was Gen. Idi Amin Dada’s regime and I am Archbishop Janani Luwum, would I uphold the values he did for the better of Uganda?’”