Uganda today celebrates the life and service of one of the most influential leaders of the modern church in Africa, Janani Luwum who served as the archbishop of the Church of Uganda from 1974 to 1977.
In 2016, President Museveni declared February 16 a public holiday in Archbishop Luwum’s memory.
Archbishop Janani Luwum rose from being a parish priest, chaplain in institutions of learning, tutor, principal, provincial secretary, Bishop of Northern Uganda Diocese, Archbishop of the Province of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi & Boga-Zaire.
On February 16, 1977, Archbishop Luwum was martyred at Nakasero, Kampala by the regime of then-president Idi Amin Dada.
His body was taken to the churchyard at Wii Gweng, Mucwini, on February 19, 1977, where he was later buried.
The Leadership of the Chosen Evangelical Revival Movement that Janan Luwum joined in 1948 supported him as he trained for ordained ministry in the Native Anglican Church.
He was ordained Priest of what was then the Upper Nile Diocese in 1956 In a high-profile ceremony attended by her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, at Westminster Abbey, London, on July 9, 1998, Janani Luwum’s statue was unveiled among other 20th century martyrs.
Janani Luwum’s contribution was also characterized by the confidence of his faith; that the gospel of Jesus Christ could offer eternal values to a violent, unjust and deceitful political power.
Archbishop Luwum was a leading voice in the criticism of Idi Amin and, in 1977, he delivered a note of protest to the dictator regarding unexplained disappearances and murders.
Apollo Lawoko, a former information officer who was in the cell next to Archbishop Luwum, reported that he heard him pleading with his captors and professing his innocence before two gunshots that more than likely ended the archbishop’s life.