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Janani Luwum Day

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On 17th January 2021, President Museveni declared February 16th a public holiday to honor the late Archbishop, Janani Luwum who was killed in 1977 on what was later termed as political persecution.

Born in 1922, Janani Jakaliya Luwum was an archbishop of the Church of Uganda from 1974 to 1977 and head of the Anglican ecclesiastical province then composed of 4 countries. (Rwanda, Burundi, Eastern Congo, and Uganda).

As then one of the most influential leaders of the modern church in Africa, he gained international recognition for his courageous stand against the human rights abuses of the then-Ugandan President, Idi Amin.

Archbishop Janani Luwum// Courtesy Photo

Luwum was born to an Acholi family, north of the country, and grew up witnessing Uganda’s journey toward independence.

His early education was rooted in the Anglican faith, and soon felt a calling to serve the Church.

He pursued theological studies in Uganda and later in the United Kingdom before his ordination as a priest in 1956.

Archbishop Luwum’s tenure at the helm of the Anglican church coincided with one of Uganda’s tambulant political eras when Idi Amin’s military regime took power in 1971.

Amin’s regime was marred by widespread human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, and persecution of political opponents.

With everything happening under his watch, Luwum became an outspoken critic of the government, voicing his concerns about the regime’s brutality.

His position as a religious leader gave him a much better platform to be the voice of the ‘voice-less’ which put him at loggerheads with the regime.

Archbishop Janani Luwum together with President Idi Amin in 1976 // Courtesy Photo

In February 1977, Luwum was arrested along with other high-ranking officials, accused of plotting against Amin, and subsequently found dead in Nakasero under mysterious circumstances on morning of 16th February 1977.

His death is widely believed to be a result of political persecution but Government had announced that Luwum tragically died in a car accident.

However, widespread reports and eyewitness accounts corroborated earlier claims suggesting that he had been murdered by government forces.

The Anglican Communion and international community condemned the act, portraying Luwum’s death as martyrdom for his faith and relentless stand for human rights.

Luwum’s death triggered opposition against Amin, drawing international attention to the plight of Uganda.

In commemorating Archbishop Janani Luwum Day, Uganda not only honors the memory of a national hero but also reflects on a story that calls for a firm stand against injustice.

This year’s Janani Luwum Day was celebrated at Wii Gweng – Kitgum district, under the theme, “Hope Beyond Affliction from the book of lamentation 3:21-26,” marking the 47th anniversary of his brutal murder.

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Simon Peter Nashonji
Simon Peter Nashonji
Nashonji Simon Peter is a dynamic and multi-faceted team leader, renowned for his exceptional interpersonal skills. Having graduated with a Diploma in Journalism, Nashonji is on the cusp of completing his Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Public Relations at Nkumba University. He picked his niche and started writing with Chimp Reports in 2018. Since then, he has authored and published over 500 articles that cover Business trends, Politics, Health, Sports, and Environment. To master his craft, Nashonji offered to volunteer as an Editor of Nkumba University's News Website in 2022, a position he has held to date. On 1st July 2023, He joined the Editorial team of Ubuntu’ Magazine, a Rotary District 9214 (Uganda and Tazania) Monthly News product. Beyond the realm of academia, Nashonji is deeply involved in the governance of Airforce Senior Secondary School his Alma Mata, where he serves as a member on the Board of Directors. He is currently, the President Airforce S.S.S Alumni Society, President Samia Student's Association of Nkumba University and at the same time President of the Media Challenge Fellowship, 2023 cohort. "Opportunities multiply as they are seized and only dwindle when neglected."


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