De 1924 à 1977
Anglican (Mouvement Balokole)
L'archevêque Janani Luwum, archevêque et martyr anglican, était adversaire implacable d'Idi AMIN, qui l'a fait assassiner.
A partir de 1956, Luwum a travaillé comme prêtre de paroisse. Il a été élu évêque de l'Ouganda du nord en 1969, et en 1974 il a été choisi archevêque de l'Ouganda, du Rwanda, du Burundi et du Boga-Zaïre. Il a confronté les injustices et les atrocités du régime d'Amin presque immédiatement, d'abord par les remontrances privées, et enfin dans un discours à la radio à Noël, en 1976. Le sermon a été censuré avant qu'il ne puisse terminer. Luwum a menacé de convoquer une démonstration publique, et pendant un certain temps, les catholiques et les protestants étaient d'un front uni derrière lui - un accomplissement rare dans l'Ouganda, pays très diversifié sur le plan religieux.
Amin a réagi rapidement et sans merci, et la maison de Luwum a été saccagée. Les évêques anglicans ont répliqué par une dénonciation cinglante des abus d'Amin. Luwum a été détenu et a été questionné par Amin lui même. Deux jours plus tard, Luwum a été accusé de sédition et de trafic d'armes alors qu'il participait à un grand rallye public à Kampala. Cet événement a donné l'excuse voulue pour une deuxième arrestation, et à la fin de la journée, Luwum était mort. La cause de sa mort est donnée comme "accident de voiture," mais il a été révélé par la suite que Luwum et deux autres ministres du gouvernement ont été tués par coup de feu par ordre d'Amin. Luwum a immédiatement été accepté comme héro de la résistance à la tyrannie, et il y a eu de nombreux efforts dans l'église anglicane de le reconnaître comme saint.
Norman C. Brockman
Ewechue, Ralph (éd.). Makers of Modern Africa [Les créateurs de l'Afrique moderne] 2ème édition. London: Africa Books, 1991.
Ford, Margaret. Janani: The Making of a Martyr [Janani: la vie d'un martyr] (1978).
Janani Luwum et ses compagnons
Janani Luwum naquit en 1922 à Acholi, en Ouganda. Enfant de la première génération de chrétiens ougandais, convertis par les missionnaires anglais, comme tous ses frères. Adolescent il avait gardé les brebis et les chèvres qui appartenaient à sa famille de paysans.
Le jeune Janani, toutefois, manifesta un tel désir d'apprendre que la possibilité lui fut offerte d'étudier et de devenir enseignant. À vingt-six ans, lui aussi devint chrétien, et en 1956 il fut ordonné prêtre de l'Église anglicane du lieu. Élu évêque de l'Ouganda du Nord en 1969, il fut nommé archevêque de l'Ouganda cinq ans plus tard, quand déjà le régime dictatorial du général Idi Amin Dada faisait fureur. Luwum commença à s'exposer en public, contestant la brutalité de la dictature et se faisant l'écho du mécontentement des chrétiens ougandais et d'importantes couches de la population.
En 1977, face à la multiplication des massacres de l'État, l'opposition des évêques se fit manifeste et vibrante. Le 17 février, quelques jours après qu'Idi Amin Dada eut reçu une lettre sévère de protestation signée par tous les évêques anglicans, le régime fit savoir que Luwum avait trouvé la mort dans un accident d'auto en compagnie de deux ministres du gouvernement ougandais.
À son épouse qui insistait pour qu'il ne s'opposât pas au dictateur, Luwum avait dit, quelques heures avant sa mort : « Je suis l'archevêque, je ne peux pas fuir. Puisse-je voir en tout ce qui m'arrive la main du Seigneur. »
Un médecin, qui avait vu les corps des trois victimes pendant le changement de la garde, confirma que tous les trois avaient été assassinés. Par la suite quelques détails ont été donnés sur les dernières heures de l'archevêque. Il avait été pris par le centre de recherche de l'État, dépouillé et poussé dans une grande cellule pleine de prisonniers condamnés à mort. Ces derniers le reconnurent et l'un d'eux lui demanda de le bénir. Puis les soldats lui rendirent ses vêtements et son crucifix. Il retourna ensuite dans la cellule, pria avec les prisonniers et les bénit. Une grande paix et un grand calme descendirent sur eux tous, selon le témoignage d'un survivant. On dit aussi qu'ils cherchèrent à lui faire signer une confession. D'autres ont témoigné qu'il priait à haute voix pour ses gardes-chiourme quand il fut massacré.
D'après le récit d'un témoin.
Témoins de Dieu, Martyrologe universel, Bayard pp. 148-149
On 6 January 1948 a young school teacher, Janani Luwum, was converted to the charismatic Christianity of the East African Revival, in his own village in Acoli, Uganda. At once he turned evangelist, warning against the dangers of drink and tobacco, and, in the eyes of local authorities, disturbing the peace. But Luwum was undeterred by official censure. He was determined to confront all who needed, in his eyes, to change their ways before God.
In January 1949 Luwum went to a theological college at Buwalasi, in eastern Uganda. A year later he came back a catechist. In 1953 he returned to train for ordination. He was ordained deacon on St Thomas's Day, 21 December 1955, and priest a year later. His progress was impressive: after two periods of study in England, he became principal of Buwalasi. Then, in September 1966, he was appointed Provincial Secretary of the Church of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaire. It was a difficult position to occupy, and these were anxious days. But Luwum won a reputation for creative and active leadership, promoting a new vision with energy and commitment. Only three years later he was consecrated bishop of Northern Uganda, on 25 January 1969. The congregation at the open-air Services included the prime minister of Uganda, Milton Obote, and the Chief of Staff of the army, Idi Amin.
Amin sought power for himself. Two years later he deposed Obote in a coup. In government he ruled by intimidation, violence and corruption. Atrocities, against the Acoli and Langi people in particular, were perpetrated time and again. The Asian population was expelled in 1972. It was in the midst of such a society, in 1974, that Luwum was elected Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaire. He pressed ahead with the reform of his church in time to mark the centenary of the creation of the Anglican province. But he also warned that the Church should not conform to "the powers of darkness". Amin cultivated a relationship with the archbishop, arguably to acquire credibility. For his part, Luwum sought to mitigate the effects of his rule, and to plead for its victims.
The Anglican and Roman Catholic churches increasingly worked together to frame a response to the political questions of the day. Soon they joined with the Muslims of Uganda. On 12 February 1977 Luwum delivered a protest to Amin against all acts of violence that were allegedly the work of the security services. Church leaders were summoned to Kampala and then ordered to leave, one by one. Luwum turned to Bishop Festo Kivengere and said, "They are going to kill me. I am not afraid". Finally alone, he was taken away and murdered. Later his body was buried near St Paul's Church, Mucwini.
Amin's state was destroyed by invading Tanzanian forces in 1979. Amin himself fled abroad and escaped justice.
"I am prepared to die in the army of Jesus." Janani Luwum
ARCHBISHOP OF UGANDA, MARTYR (16 FEB 1977)
Janani Luwum was born in 1922. His father was a convert to Christianity. Janani was sent to school and eventually became a schoolteacher. In 1948 he was converted. He became very active in the East African revival movement, and became a lay reader, then a deacon, and then a priest in 1956. He was chosen to study for a year at St Augustine's College in Canterbury, England. He returned to Uganda, worked as a parish priest, and then taught at Buwalasi Theological College. He made a second visit to Britain to study at the London College of Divinity, returning to Uganda to become Principal of Buwalasi. In 1969 he was consecrated bishop of Northern Uganda.
The Church in Uganda began with the deaths of martyrs (see Martyrs of Uganda, 3 June 1886, and James Hannington and his Companions, Martyrs, 29 October 1885). Around 1900, Uganda became a British protectorate, with the chief of the Buganda tribe as nominal ruler, and with several other tribes included in the protectorate. In 1962 Uganda became an independent country within the British Commonwealth, with the Bugandan chief as president and Milton Obote, of the Lango tribe, as Prime Minister. In 1966, Obote took full control of the government. In 1971, he was overthrown by General Idi Amin, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces. Almost immediately, he began a policy of repression, arresting anyone suspected of not supporting him. Hundreds of soldiers from the Lango and Acholi tribes were shot down in their barracks. Amin ordered the expulsion of the Asian population of Uganda, about 55,000 persons, mostly small shopkeepers from India and Pakistan. Over the next few years, many Christians were killed for various offenses. A preacher who read over the radio a Psalm which mentioned Israel was shot for this in 1972.
In 1974 Janani Luwum he became Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaire. As we have seen, it was a time of widespread terror. Archbishop Luwum often went personally to the office of the dreaded State Research Bureau to help secure the release of prisoners.
Tension between Church and state worsened in 1976. Religious leaders, including Archbishop Luwum, jointly approached Idi Amin to share their concern. They were rebuffed. But Archbishop Luwum continued to attend Government functions. One of his critics accused him of being on the Government side and he replied: "I face daily being picked up by the soldiers. While the opportunity is there I preach the Gospel with all my might, and my conscience is clear before God that I have not sided with the present Government which is utterly self-seeking. I have been threatened many times. Whenever I have the opportunity I have told the President the things the churches disapprove of."
Early in 1977, there was a small army rebellion that was put down with only seven men dead. However, Amin determined to stamp out all traces of dissent. His men killed thousands, including the entire population of Milton Obote's home village. On Sunday, 30 January, Bishop Festo Kivengere preached on "The Preciousness of Life" to an audience including many high government officials. He denounced the arbitrary bloodletting, and accused the government of abusing the authority that God had entrusted to it. The government responded on the following Saturday (5 February) by an early (1:30am) raid on the home of the Archbishop, Janani Luwum, ostensibly to search for hidden stores of weapons.
The Archbishop called on President Amin to deliver a note of protest, signed by nearly all the bishops of Uganda, against the policies of arbitrary killings and the unexplained disappearances of many persons. Amin accused the Archbishop of treason, produced a document supposedly by former President Obote attesting his guilt, and had the Archbishop and two Cabinet members (both committed Christians) arrested and held for military trial.
On 16 February, the Archbishop and six bishops were tried on a charge of smuggling arms. Archbishop Luwum was not allowed to reply, but shook his head in denial. The President concluded by asking the crowd: "What shall we do with these traitors?" The soldiers replied "Kill him now". The Archbishop was separated from his bishops. As he was taken away Archbishop Luwum turned to his brother bishops and said: "Do not be afraid. I see God's hand in this."
The three (the Archbishop and the two Cabinet members) met briefly with four other prisoners who were awaiting execution, and were permitted to pray with them briefly. Then the three were placed in a Land Rover and not seen alive again by their friends. The government story is that one of the prisoners tried to seize control of the vehicle and that it was wrecked and the passengers killed. The story believed by the Archbishop's supporters is that he refused to sign a confession, was beaten and otherwise abused, and finally shot. His body was placed in a sealed coffin and sent to his native village for burial there. However, the villagers opened the coffin and discovered the bullet holes. In the capital city of Kampala a crowd of about 4,500 gathered for a memorial service beside the grave that had been prepared for him next to that of the martyred bishop Hannington. In Nairobi, the capital of nearby Kenya, about 10,000 gathered for another memorial service. Bishop Kivengere was informed that he was about to be arrested, and he and his family fled to Kenya, as did the widow and orphans of Archbishop Luwum.
The following June, about 25,000 Ugandans came to the capital to celebrate the centennial of the first preaching of the Gospel in their country, among the participants were many who had abandoned Christianity, but who had returned to their Faith as a result of seeing the courage of Archbishop Luwum and his companions in the face of death.
by James Kiefer
A Modern Martyr :
Janani Jakaliya Luwum (1922-1977)
Anglican Archbishop of Uganda
Biographical Sketch by William J. Myers
Ugandans know death well. With a population of about 24.7 million, it is estimated that some 1.05 million people suffer from HIV/AIDS. Life Expectancy is estimated at 54 years at birth (Uganda AIDS commission 2003). Truly, life is difficult in Uganda. Difficult, yes, but in the 1970's, under General Idi Amin, life was cheap. Amin seized power in 1971 from President Milton Obote and began a series of mass killings aimed at "weeding out" enemies. "Bodies were regularly found floating on Lake Victoria or caught amongst the papyrus, or buried carelessly in shallow graves. Others were burned in petrol fires or simply thrown into the bush and left there to rot or be eaten by wild beasts. There was the smell of death from the marshes. The crocodiles which basked contentedly on the banks of the River Nile were fat" (Ford 1978. p.67) So many bodies were fed to the crocodiles that the intake ducts were often clogged with remains at the hydroelectric plant of Jinja. One of the "enemies" "weeded out" by Idi Amin was Janani Luwum, the Anglican archbishop of Kampala.
Janani Jakaliya Luwum was born in 1922 in Northern Uganda. At 10, he began schooling, going on to Teacher's Training College where he graduated and became a respected teacher. In 1948 his life changed, though, when he met members of the Balokole ("saved ones") who visited his village. After his conversion experience, Luwum enrolled in Buwalasi Theological College; and became a priest in 1956 within the Church of Uganda, a member church of the Anglican Communion. Luwum studied for a year at Saint Augustine's College and for two more years at London Divinity College. He subsequently held various posts, including principal of Buwalasi and provincial secretary. In 1960, he was consecrated as Bishop of Northern Uganda. He served his diocese so magnificently that in 1974 he was elected Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Boga-Zaire. The archdiocese was centered in Kampala, the capital of Uganda.
When Luwum arrived in Kampala, it was a frightening place. General Idi Amin's brutal regime was escalating atrocities. Amin, a convert to Islam, was certainly known to be pro-Muslim and anti-Christian. Many Christians became targets during Amin's rule. The volatile situation suggested comparison to the reign of King Mwanga of Buganda, nearly a century before. Mwanga began martyring Christians around 1885. Joseph Mukasa, a Roman Catholic convert, became King Mwanga's first victim (Balasundaram 2003).
In August 1976, Amin declared himself field marshal and life president. The country was beginning to crumble and church leaders began to unite their voices of discontent. Cardinal Nsubuga, Sheik Mufti of Uganda, and Archbishop Janani Luwum convened an ecumenical meeting to discuss the situation within the country. With great trepidation, they carefully discussed the deteriorating infrastructure. They requested a meeting with President Amin, but he responded with an angry reprimand about their conducting a meeting without presidential permission! Given Amin's deserved reputation, Luwum had to have known that his actions in defense of justice and his demand for answers made him a marked man, and that his own murder was a very real possibility.
On January 30, 1977, the Church of Uganda publicly voiced opposition to Amin. Bishop Festo Kivengere preached against Amin's misuse of power at the consecration of the Bishop of West Ankole. A month later a man indicated Luwum as a "possible" agitator. His home and belongings were ransacked by Amin's troops. On February 16, religious, government, and military leaders were summoned to condemn Luwum and indict him for various "subversive acts." The vice president insisted Luwum was given a "fair" trial by a military tribunal. He was taken to the infamous Nile Hotel, the site of numerous murders and torturing. The archbishop, who refused to sign a confession of treason, prayed for his captors as he was undressed and thrown to the floor, whipped, possibly sodomized, and then, at about 6:00, shot twice in the chest (Mairs 1996. p.84). Vehicles were then driven over his corpse to suggest a vehicle accident. When his body was sent home for burial, though, the faithful ripped open the sealed casket and saw the bullet holes.
Idi Amin's regime was toppled two years later by Tanzanian forces. Amin sought and received refuge in Saudi Arabia. Idi Amin finally died, just recently--on August 16, 2003--from multiple organ failure. The murderous dictator lived 26 years longer than Janani Luwum, the majority of that time spent in luxury in Saudi Arabia. Amin's legacy was such that--even in his mortal state before death--President Museveni of Uganda wanted Amin to stand trial if he returned alive to the country. Contrary to Amin's epitaph, Christians throughout the world, even years after his short-lived episcopacy and brutal death, continue to celebrate Janani Luwum's life. His statue now adorns Westminster Cathedral along with those of other 20th century martyrs. Luwum, unlike other bishops mentioned in this journal, could not deter Amin's wrath by threats of excommunication or interdict. Armed only with his faith and his conviction, he risked losing everything--including his own life--by demanding an end to Amin's murderous rage. Yet he had so much to live for. He had a devoted wife and loving children. He had the option of a promising ecclesiastical or academic career (if he had chosen to pursue them elsewhere), an option not readily available to other priests in Uganda. Instead, he put his flock and the Gospel of Jesus Christ above all his own priorities.
"Do not be afraid. I see God's hand in this." were Janani Luwum's last words to his brother bishops before his murder (Mission Saint Clare 2003). This statement was a simple affirmation of faith. Yet it served as a message of comfort and encouragement in the face of incomprehensible evil. The memory of that heart-felt farewell constitutes a memorial more enduring than any cast in bronze or carved from granite.