Archbishop Janani a Stranger at Luwum Street

4728 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
As the country celebrates Janani Luwum Day, people who operate along Luwum Street in Kampala know little about the archbishop in whose memory the street was named.

 As the country celebrates Janani Luwum Day, people who operate along Luwum Street in Kampala know little about the archbishop in whose memory the street was named.
 
The street is situated a few metres from Kampala road, as you walk to Old Tax Park. It stretches from Mini Price in downtown Kampala to Entebbe road.
  
Lumum was the archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaire from 1974 to 1977. He was murdered on February 16, 1977 in Kampala on the orders of President Idi Amin Dada, for pointing out and openly criticising the excesses of the regime.
  
After his death, the government stage-managed an accident. Archbishop Luwum was hurriedly buried at his ancestral home in Wii Gweng Village, in Mucwini Sub County in Kitgum district. Killed together with the Archbishop were two government ministers, Charles Oboth Ofumbi for Internal Affairs and Lt. Col. Erinayo Oryema for Culture.
  
In his book "A State of Blood", Henry Kyemba who served as Amin's health minister noted; "The bodies were bullet-riddled. The archbishop had been shot through the mouth and at least three bullets in the chest."
  
In 2015, President Museveni declared February 16 a public holiday in memory of Archbishop Luwum. He also directed ministries of Education and Gender, Labour and Social development to erect a statue in Kampala in honour of Luwum.
  
When Uganda Radio Network reporter visited Luwum Street today, various traders said they don't know Janani Luwum while others didn't even know that today was a public holiday. The traders in turn asked the reporter to explain to them who Janani Luwum was, what he did and why he was killed by Idi Amin.
  
Benon Kiwanuka, a boda-boda cyclist said; "I don't Luwum. You have told me that he was murdered by Amin and that's all. We don't know much about him."
  
Hassan Kasekende, another boda-boda cyclist said the media should always ask old people who were alive during Amin days to comment on Luwum because that is when he was murdered.
  
After listening to this reporter's short narration of Luwum, Mzee Mugyenyi Timiteo, a newspaper vendor said; "Museveni has not killed these people who criticise him every day. They should allow him to be president for many years."
  
John Ssserunkuma, who operates a mobile money business, said he learnt that today is a public holiday in the morning. He added that he will celebrate the day next year.
  
"We need to get back such people who fight for others. We need to make sure that their names are remembered for the work they did for their people or their country."
  
Joseph Ouma, a trader says he was shocked to find the roads in town with very light traffic in the morning.

//Cue in: "I don't know...
Cue out:...to sensitise people."//

The day is passing quietly in many Anglican dioceses in Uganda with no special prayers organised to mark 40 years of the archbishop's murder. While the main event at Mucwini attracted thousands of pilgrims, it was largely a silent affair in many dioceses in the country.