Luwum, Janani Jakaliya (A)
Archbishop Janani Luwum, an Anglican archbishop and martyr, was an implacable foe of Idi AMIN, who had him murdered.
From 1956 Luwum worked as a parish priest. He was elected bishop of northern Uganda in 1969, and in 1974 he was chosen archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaïre. He confronted the injustices and atrocities of the Amin regime almost immediately, at first with private remonstrances and finally in a radio address at Christmas in 1976. The sermon was censored before he completed it. Luwum threatened a public demonstration, and for a time he united Catholics and Protestants behind him - a major feat in religiously diverse Uganda.
Amin reacted swiftly and without mercy, sacking Luwum’s home. The Anglican bishops responded with a stinging denunciation of Amin’s abuses. Luwum was detained and questioned by Amin personally. Two days later Luwum was publicly accused of sedition and arms smuggling while participating in a large public rally in Kampala. This event provided an excuse for a second arrest, and by the end of the day Luwum was dead. The cause of death was listed as a car crash, but it was later revealed that Luwum, along with two government ministers, had been shot on orders from Amin. Luwum was accepted immediately as a hero of resistance to tyranny, and there have been efforts by the Anglican Church to recognize him as a saint.
Norman C. Brockman
Ewechue, Ralph (ed.). Makers of Modern Africa. 2nd edition. London: Africa Books, 1991.
Additional reading: Ford, Margaret. Janani: The Making of a Martyr (1978).
This article is reproduced, with permission, from *An African Biographical Dictionary, *copyright © 1994, edited by Norbert C. Brockman, Santa Barbara, California. All rights reserved.