Who is Saint Janan Luwum?

On 16th February, Uganda celebrates St Janan Luwum Day. It is a public holiday, in honour of the Protestant Saint and former Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaire, one of the most influential religious figures of Uganda in the twentieth century. Hailing from Kitgum district in northern Uganda, St Luwum was ordained in 1955, and in 1969 he was consecrated bishop of Northern Uganda. Two years later, President Milton Obote was overthrown by army commander Idi Amin. Amin turned on the Acholi and Langi tribes, of whom Luwum was a member, as he thought they were loyal to Obote. In 1974, he became the Archbishop, and vowed to challenge the atrocities committed by Amin’s regime. He was known for calling Amin personally, and demanding to know the whereabouts of missing people. In February 1977, Luwum delivered a with a protest on the behalf of the Church of Uganda, which listed the human rights abuses Amin’s regime had committed, a brave but dangerous move. Amin accused Luwum of stockpiling weapons to overthrow him, and he was arrested, and, along with two minsters, paraded in the Conference Hall of Nile Mansions, before he was taken off and shot. A car crash was staged in Nakasero, and his death attributed to this. His body was buried in St Paul’s Church, Mucwini.

He was recognised as a martyr by the Protestant Church, and is commemorated with a statute on Westminster Abbey