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Janani Luwum Day: Museveni preaches peace, forgiveness, and reconciliation

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President Yoweri Museveni has called for embracing peace, forgiveness, and reconciliation for the betterment of our nation. Museveni said this during the commemoration of Archbishop Janani Luwum in Kitgum.

Luwum and two cabinet ministers were arrested on February 16, 1977, on allegations of treason and planning a coup. They were later announced to have died in a car crash. Chief Justice Alphonse Winyi Dollo represented Museveni at the function.

Luwum was a leading figure in the criticism of the excesses of Idi Amin’s regime. In 1977, he delivered a note to Amin protesting against the unjustified killings and unexplained disappearances of people.

“We are here to remember and celebrate the legacy of a man who did not relent on what he believed was right, and he ended up paying the ultimate price. We are paying tribute to an icon of justice, faith, and respect for human rights in Uganda and beyond,” Museveni said.

“We are happy to say that Uganda is a free country where freedom of worship is a right and enjoyable for all. The NRM restored dignity, integrity, and freedom of worship for the people of Uganda. The government will continue to work on maintenance for peace and also put the necessary infrastructure in place as a way of facilitating the country’s development,” he said.

Gen. Kahinda Otafiire, the Internal Affairs Minister, said the late Archbishop Janani Luwum had chosen to fight for the downtrodden. He chose to bear the cross for the voiceless, and he was aware of the potential consequences, so he accepted it.

“When I witnessed the drama of what happened to Archbishop Janani Luwum, I started questioning the wisdom of telling us that leaders are anointed by God. I asked God, “Are you the one who anointed Amin, too?” he said.

He said no religion has a monopoly on virtue and vice; let us all come to God as we are. Beliefs that divide us should be discarded. Let us emphasise what uplifts our welfare.

Learn to stand up and speak. Nobody should gag at you. Don’t quarrel. There is a difference between freedom of speech and rioting. This is a problem I have with my friends in the opposition. They say they are exercising their right to speak, but then they bring stones. Freedom of speech is legitimate and legal; rioting is illegitimate and a crime.

In his remarks, Dollo said northern Uganda has suffered 25 years of armed conflicts that ended 18 years ago. We deceived ourselves into thinking that peace had come back because we used to sleep in the bush, in camps, hearing death every day.

He said the absence of peace that was brought by the deceptive piece was worse than the one we could see running away from. The society that is now in self-pity has nothing to live for or die for.

“We need a fundamental revival and recovery in this place of Uganda; otherwise, we shall continue to live in falsehoods and pretense. For the last 35 years, northern Uganda has not had peace. The primary responsibility is going to live with us so that we cannot live in self-pity. This catastrophe must be confronted in broad daylight to change our country,” he said.

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