Dr. Olara-Otunnu (L) and retired Bishop Dr. Benoni Ogwal-Abwang (R) addressing the media in Gulu on preparation to mark 40th anniversary of the martyrdom of St.Janani Luwum
“Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury will not be able to come as had earlier been planned because they would be holding their synod at that time. He has now delegated it to the Bishop of Bristol, Reverend Mike Hill”
“I am happy that the question of reburial at Namirembe has been solved. The family wants his remain to remain permanently at Mucwini. His remain will not be exhumed and relocated to another place. God is working in a mysterious way”
“Chances are that he would have been buried at Namirembe Cathedral had he died of natural cause”.
GULU-UGANDA: Bishop Mike Hill of the Diocese of Bristol will preach at the fortieth memorial prayer of the martyrdom of Saint Janani Luwum on February 16, 2017 instead of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Justin Welby.
This announcement was made by the retired bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda, Bishop Benoni Ogwal-Abwang and Dr. Olara-Otunnu, during a press briefing on the preparations for the celebration at the Northern Uganda Media Club (NUMEC) on January 25, 2017.
“Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury will not be able to come as had earlier been planned because they would be holding their synod at that time. He has now delegated it to the Bishop of Bristol, Reverend Mike Hill”, says Bishop Ogwal.
Janani Luwum, one of the 20th Century Martyrs, was murdered by Uganda Dictator Idi Amin on February 16, 1977 alongside two cabinet ministers; Erenayo Oryema and Oboth-Ofumbi, on allegation that they were plotting to overthrow his government.
His remain was hurriedly buried by soldiers three days later at St. Paul’s Church of Uganda, Wii-gweng in Mucwini sub-county, Kitgum district.
Efforts by the Province of the Church of Uganda to have his remains exhumed and relocated to Namirembe Cathedral in Central Uganda, the seat of the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda was however rejected by the family.
“I am happy that the question of reburial at Namirembe has been solved. The family wants his remains to remain permanently at Mucwini. His remains will not be exhumed and relocated to another place. God is working in a mysterious way” says Mr. Olara-Otunnu, adding “chances are that he would have been buried at Namirembe Cathedral had he died of natural cause”.
Activities preceding the celebration started on Tuesday, January 17, 2017 with a media campaign launch in Kampala which was chaired by Uganda’s Prime Minister, Mr. Ruhakana-Rugunda.
On Sunday, February 5, 2017 the people in central Uganda will be commemorating the martyrdom of Luwum by marching through the city from five different directions to Namirembe Cathedral for worship and praises.
“The commemoration is ecumenical. Not just for Anglicans. It is for all faiths and people of goodwill irrespective of your party color or tribe. That is what Luwum wanted to achieve when he became Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga Zaire (now RDC) in 1974”, says Mr. Olara-Otunnu.
Bishop Ogwal, who succeeded Luwum as the Bishop of Northern Uganda in 1974, when Luwum was elected Archbishop describes Luwum as a “prophetic man of God” because he would always speak for the suffering people under bad governments.
He says the genesis of the martyrdom of Luwum started from a letter authored by the House of Bishops to President Idi Amin in 1977 which condemned the killings going on in Uganda at that time.
“We were part of the House of Bishops who wrote the long letter to President Amin. The agenda was one; to condemn the killings that were going on in Uganda. The guns which were meant to protect the people had been turned against the people”, says Bishop Ogwal.
Bishop Ogwal says Luwum refused all advises given to him to leave Uganda for exile life following threats on his life by President Amin, but he chose to remain and fight from within.
“He was kind, a family man who was generous and a man with deep spiritual faith. Martyrdom is a gift from God. If he had not been killed, the world would not have woken to the realities in Uganda”, says bishop Ogwal.