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Unfulfilled Pledges, Land Woes Hold Back Bishop Luwum Memorial Centre

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The Kitgum Diocese Bishop, Rt Rev Wilson Kitara notes that pledges that were made by individuals and stakeholders towards supporting the memorial center development haven’t been fulfilled.
pilgrims pray at the graves of st janani luwum and mary luwum, at wiigweng village in mucwini subcounty kitgum district on friday. photo by julius ocungi

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 The proposed development of a Memorial Centre in honour of St Janani Luwum at Wii-Gweng Village in Mucwini Sub County in Kitgum District has suffered setbacks.

In a bid to keep Luwum’s memory and legacy alive, the government, Church of Uganda and well-wishers proposed to support building of a memorial centre and monument at Wii-Gweng village. 

An artistic impression of the memorial centre was unveiled in February 2017 revealed the memorial centre would sit on a 100 acres’ piece of land. It would consists of a tomb for Luwum, educational facilities, prayers and tourist centre, hotel, recreational and sports ground, among others.

However, Jackson Omona the Kitgum LCV Chairperson says a number of factors have since dragged back the development of the memorial centre.

Omona says that delays to fully acquire land initially donated for the project by four families has stalled the initiative.

He cites that some of the landowners who had donated the land have since passed on adding that their children are now demanding to fully understand the project before accepting their land to be used.

According to Omona, the land in question in wii-gweng village were offered in phases, first to Luwum while still serving as the archbishop while others were offered after his death.

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He adds that trouble also ensued while having parts of the land title processed for registration citing that it was offered as leasehold instead of freehold.  

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The Kitgum Diocese Bishop, Rt Rev Wilson Kitara, however, notes that pledges that were made by individuals and stakeholders towards supporting the memorial centre development haven’t been fulfilled.

For instance, in February 2017, in a message read by the Vice President Edward Ssekandi, president Museveni promised to construct a monument and memorial centre for Archbishop Luwum. 

In 2015, Church of England’s Archbishop of York, John Sentamu who was the Chief Celebrant at Wii-Gweng also pledged to support the church construction.

He says unfulfilled pledges compounded by unfinished design for the memorial centre has left the work in balance despite the artistic impression being unveiled.

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Bishop Kitara reminded those who made pledges to honour it adding that already they are in the process of acquiring land for the memorial centre.

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Former Uganda People’s Congress party President Dr Olara Otunnu, who is among the national committee members overseeing the memorial centre development acknowledges that bottlenecks have affected the project.

He says there is already a master plan for the development of the memorial centre adding that they are working around to ensure the plans move accordingly.

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Luwum was murdered on 16th February 1977 by the former Uganda president Idi Amin for his sharp criticism against his dictatorial leadership. He was the ecclesiastical head of the Anglican province covering Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga.

In February 2015, President Museveni declared February 16 a public holiday in honour of Luwum.