Blessed Janani Luwum; Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga Zaire & Bishop of Kampala Diocese 1974-1977.
WII-GWENG-MUCWINI: The widow of the late 3rd Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaire (eastern Democratic Republic of Congo- DRC), Janani Luwum, has added her voice to those who are calling for peaceful Feb. 18 election in Uganda.
Mrs. Mary Luwum spoke during the 39th anniversary commemoration of the death of her husband who was brutally murdered by the late Uganda dictator Iddi Amin-Dada on February 16, 1977.
Mrs. Mary Luwum prayed to God to guide Ugandans so that the election for president and Members of Parliament are conducted in a peaceful atmosphere.
“I am requesting and wish that God should guide us and lead us with peace, especially during this election season”, she said.
The commemoration was held at Wii-Gweng, Mucwini Martyr’s Shrine in the Diocese of Kitgum, a twenty minute drive east of Kitgum town, under the theme: “He himself is our peace”, a bible quotation from the book of Ephesians chapter 2 verse 14.
The Archbishop of the Province of the Church of Uganda, His Grace Rev. Stanley Ntagali presided over the commemoration prayer while Prime Minister of Uganda, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda represented President Museveni at the function. Museveni could not attend as he was holding his last president campaigns at Kololo ceremonial ground.
Archbishop Ntagali, who is the 8th Archbishop of the Province of the Church of Uganda, described the general election season as “a moment of truth” and prayed for peaceful elections. He also prayed to God to guide voters so that they vote in only leaders who support peace over violence.
“The moment of truth has come-the day of general election. Let us pray for Uganda for peaceful elections so that God gives us leaders who love peace”, he said.
He thanked President Museveni and government for honoring his request to gazette February 16, as a public holiday in Uganda to enable Uganda make pilgrimage to Mucwini Martyr’s shrine on that day.
He urged Ugandans to shun those who aspiring for leadership positions but are sounding war and violence drums before, during and after the elections instead.
“On behalf of the Church of Uganda, I would like to thank President Museveni and government for declaring February 16, a public holiday. Today, as we celebrate his (Luwum’s) life, we are left with only two days to general election. Let us have peaceful elections and we should refuse violence during and after the elections”. He told pilgrims. He appealed to candidates to desist from buying votes and to discourage their followers from the spirit of violence during and after election.
Many Ugandans are predicting violence to erupt after the results are announced and either side wins. Archbishop Ntangali revealed that the rich ones in Kampala are already leaving the city ahead of tomorrow’s election for the comfort of other countries. Many are also travelling upcountry to vote in rural areas.
In his message to the pilgrims at Wii-Gweng, Mucwini, which was read by Dr. Rugunda, President Museveni described the late Janani Luwum as a gift to Uganda and an “icon who stood for peace, justice and human rights”. He called Luwum’s sudden death a “tragedy”. The president said Luwum resisted intimidation and injustice during the reign of Idi Amin up to the time that he was killed.
“His death was a tragedy. He was a gift to Uganda. He was an icon who stood for peace, justice and human rights. He resisted intimidation and he paid dearly for it”, the Meseveni statement said.
In a related development, the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda also issued two separate pastoral letters on peaceful and violence free elections in Uganda. The “Council”, which comprise of Catholics, Anglican, Moslem, Seventh-day Adventist, Born Again faith and Pentecostal and Evengelical churches, called on Ugandans to act within the spirit of our national motto of “For God and My Country”.
“We plead with all Ugandans, especially security agencies to act within the spirit of our national motto and ensure that everybody has the space to exercise their constitutional rights without coercion and to build mutual trust among the citizens”, the report reads in parts.
The Religious Leaders said politicians that seek to buy votes should be de-campaigned because they are responsible for the impoverishment of the people to the extent that a “gift” worthy a few thousand shillings is seen as manna from heaven.
“We trust that you realize the weight that we are placing on coming elections. This is mainly because of the concerns and fears that you expressed to us, and the feeling that these elections might mark a watershed in our political history. We appeal to every citizen and all key institutions to make responsible choices that will lead to credible, peaceful, free and fair elections thereby saving ourselves from a possible catastrophe”, the statements concluded.