By Ambassador Henry Mayega
The New Vision of February 18, 2022 carried a story, “Olara Otunnu lashes out at Kazimba over JananLuwum Day celebration” in which the former foreign minister of the short-lived Okello-Okello military junta of 1985 irrationally ranted against Archbishop Steven Kazimba Mugalu for “allowing the national commemoration” to be held in Kololo instead of Wii Gweng in Mucwini sub-county, Kitgum!
He is quoted to have added, “…the project of Wii Gweng has become an orphan project” meaning that it has been neglected by those concerned, he didn’t name them! The Kololo event was expected to be graced by President Yoweri Museveni who, because of other pressing engagements, delegated that responsibility. By attacking Archbishop Steven Kazimba Mugalu, a fine and venerated servant of God, over flimsy reasons, the Olara Otunnu shenanigans of symbolism cannot go unchallenged because of the following:
First, Archbishop Janan Luwum, yes, hailed from Mucwini, Kitgum and it was particularly deplorable and repugnant for despotic Idi Amin and his ilk to have killed him in cold blood and dumped his body at Mucwini and had him buried like a common chicken thief: which speaks to how life had become worthless under that most diabolic and gore regime of the 1970s;that if the archbishop had his life ended gruesomely, then who would survive that hangman’s brutish locution and insatiable appetite for spilling Ugandan blood.
Janan, a humble servant of God, would plainly tell off Idi Amin regarding human rights transgressions and he paid the ultimate price like most of Jesus’s disciples! Idi Amin and his henchmen planted guns on him, the kangaroo-courted him and executed him. The Yoweri Museveni administration in its infinite wisdom found it befitting, therefore, to have yearly commemorations of Janan’s iconic personality and Godliness; an obdurateness that Otunnu’s junta never considered during their misrule after their coup d’etat of 1985.
Secondly, Archbishop Janan Luwum wasn’t a tribal prelate; he was in fact elected in 1974 to become the supremo of the Anglican communion of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaire (present day DRC),I suppose Otunnu has that recollection! Janan Luwum was, therefore, bigger than Mucwini and a preponderant beyond that sub-county where Otunnu and his ilk plus Idi Amin’s henchmen who dumped his lifeless body there want to permanently confine him. Otunnu, in an act of intellectual dishonesty drew a parallel with the celebrations at Namugongo martyrs hamlet yet the two, in my view, are two totally different scenarios because the regional Anglican communions never picked, out of their own volition, the martyrs of Namugongo like Janan was. In fact in future, Otunnu should not be surprised if the commemoration is made rotational because of Janan Luwum’s international stature or indeed the event can be replicated simultaneously in many places including Mucwini. What Otunnu should understand, if he doesn’t suffer from a cognitive deficit, is to accept that the reverend prelate ceased being a Mucwini statistic once he was elected archbishop of those countries.
Thirdly, these have been tough days given the prevalence of the Covid-19 pandemic that has debilitated travelling and crowding places. Both have been super spreaders of the pandemic and in the wisdom of the organizers it is most probable that they based their decision to have the commemoration at Kololo on those two; that shouldn’t be rocket science to Olara Otunnu and his ilk.
It should be remembered by Ugandans that Olara Otunnu stood for president against the indomitable Yoweri Museveni in 2011 but he neither voted for himself as a presidential candidate nor voted for the party that sponsored his candidature! And so,his vendetta against the Yoweri Museveni administration on account of having tried, but to no avail, to displace it is written everywhere.
He had expected that after flying cloud 9 from the UN where he had worked with his erstwhile friend, secretary general Javier Pérez de Cuellar, the contest would be a walk-over. The expectation that President Museveni (who did not turn up) would officiate at Kololo must have sent Otunnu into a frenzy that made him attack Archbishop Kazimba.
Ambassador Henry Mayega
Deputy Head of Mission
Abu Dhabi, UAE