Kitgum District Asked to Erect Statue in Honor of St. Janani Luwum

The committee organizing the 46th anniversary of St Janani Luwum has asked Kitgum District Local Government to do more to honour the saint. 

St. Janani Luwum, a born of Mucwini Sub-County in Kitgum district, was the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Boga-Zaire from 1974 to 1977. He is considered one of the most influential leaders of the modern Church in Africa.

Janan Luwum is remembered for criticizing the excesses of Idi Amin’s regime, among them the torture of citizens, arbitrary killings, and unexplained disappearances of civilians and soldiers. It is believed that his open opposition to Amin’s methods led to his killing on February 16, 1977. 

Canon Gladys Oyat, the chairperson of the local organising committee for the 46th anniversary, said St. Janani Luwum is honoured more abroad than in Uganda where he hailed. She cited the statue of St Janani Luwum at Westminster Abbey in London as a show of great honour. 

St. Janani Luwum is among the ten modern martyrs of the 20th century, whose statues have stood above the Abbey’s West Door, since 1998, having been killed for choosing their beliefs over their lives. The martyrs come from all over the world and various Christian denominations and portray all who were oppressed and persecuted for their faith. 

Oyat says that while the government of Uganda set February 16, as a public holiday to remember the saint, Kitgum district is yet to do something notable in memory of one of its most outstanding leaders.

Okot Bitek, another member of the local organizing committee acknowledged that  Kitgum as a district has not done something to honour the Saint. He said that a council resolution should be passed so that all suggestions about hanging a portrait or building a statue of St Janani Luwum are done thereafter. 

Noe Opoka, the deputy speaker of Kitgum District Council, acknowledged that putting a portrait of St Janani Luwum is a brilliant idea, and the leaders of the council will adopt the suggestion to ensure that a committee shares it before it’s forwarded in the next council due in February. 

Opoka added that if it is agreed that the portrait is placed in every district in Acholi, then the speakers in all Acholi districts will have a joint meeting to pass a resolution on the matter. 

Opoka, however, said for a statue of St. Janani Luwum, there is a need for support from development partners as getting a presentable statue has huge financial implications. 

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