March 2, 2024

Janan Luwum Day 2024: Date, History and Facts


Late Archbishop-Janani-Luwum

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Janan Luwum Day 2024: Uganda celebrates Janan Luwum Day on February 16 of each year. The day honors Janani Luwum, a former archbishop of the Anglican Church of Uganda, for his significant accomplishments. Because he was outspoken in his criticism of former Ugandan President Idi Amin’s authoritarianism and abuses of leadership, it is well known that he was assassinated on Amin’s orders. Even though Archbishop Janani passed away more than 40 years ago, his influence endures, and he is still recognized as “one of the most influential leaders of the modern church in Africa.”

The background of Janan Luwum Day

The third Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Bougainville was Janan Luwum. He was born in 1922, and in 1948 he became a Christian. He was ordained as a priest six years later, in 1954, and after advancing in status over time, he was named Church Archbishop in 1974.

In 1971, tyrant Idi Amin declared himself the new president of Uganda after a military takeover. Under his leadership, political theft, corruption, and breaches of human rights were rampant. During his reign, an estimated 100,000 people perished.

Archbishop Luwum was a well-known opposition figure who was outspoken in his condemnation of Amin’s government. He was committed to his ministry and inspired others to speak up. Known as a strong voice of resistance, he bravely handed the president a message in 1977 denouncing his policies, senseless executions, and mysterious kidnappings.

On February 16, 1977, Luwum was taken into custody and charged with treason for allegedly organizing a coup. Luwum’s supporters, two cabinet ministers, were also found guilty. The three were declared deceased after what seemed to be an automobile accident. There was a rumor that the inmates tried to assault the driver. However, Luwum’s relatives discovered that his body had bullet wounds when they received it.

Instead of putting a stop to the opposition to Amin’s oppressive administration, Archbishop Luwum’s death had the opposite effect. His passing marked a sea change in Ugandan history. The Church of England regards Archbishop Janani Luwum as a hero, and his statue can be found today in Westminster Abbey in London, among other twentieth-century martyrs. In 2015, a public holiday honoring his passing was proposed, and on February 16, 2016, it was first recognized.


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