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Mary Luwum’s body lies in state

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The body of the late Mary Lawinyo Luwum, widow of former Archbishop of the Church of Uganda Janani Luwum on Thursday lay in State in Parliament where MPs and public paid her their last respects.

Mary Luwum, 93, died on Tuesday, August 6th after a battle with cancer.

At Parliament, Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda hailed Mary Luwum as a woman who lived an amazing, distinguished and fruitful life that is to be emulated.

Rugunda said that Mary Luwum will be celebrated for her courage and resourcefulness.

Leader of Opposition, Betty Aol Ochan described the deceased as a very high profile person given that the late Archbishop Janani Luwum is a saint and that parliament’s respect to her is in that honour.

“She managed to raise her children highhandedly when she lost her husband. This is a great honour for us women and the Church of Uganda and that is why we are paying her a very honourable tribute. If I were one of the decision-makers, the body would be taken in the Chambers for a proper resolution of Parliament to be made but also this is okay,” said Ochan.

Chua West MP Okin P.P Ojara said that they were honoured as parliament to receive the body of Mary Luwum given that in the Anglican fellowship and faith, she is considered as the mother of faith.

“Because if her late husband Archbishop Janan Luwum is the faith and the foundation of faith in the 21st Century as far as the Anglican Church is concerned, then she is actually the mother of faith. The respect and the tribute we are paying is based on the fact that Mary Luwum has been very consistent and persistent about the Anglican faith in Uganda,” said Ojara.

He applauded her for being strong saying that she never feared the brutality of the State at the time when Idi Amin’s government was brutalizing the people.

“She never left the country meaning that she was well prepared to die like the husband and for us, this is very significant. As people of Acholi, we are also honoured because many times people think that we are violent and like fighting but if you compare this kind of version and the version that has been brought by the peace-loving family of Archbishop Janan Luwum then it demystifies all the other versions,” Ojara added.

Agago County MP, Edward Makmot Otto recounted how he grew up knowing the family of the late Archbishop Janan Luwum noting that the Mary Luwum is behind most of the good attributes given to the late Anglican Church martyr.

“It is a big loss, a big vacuum but the legacy stays and the name will always stay. Even when we are sad, we celebrate the achievements of the family and the great legacy left,” said Mackmot.

A funeral service will be held at Church of the resurrection in Bugolobi on Friday. Her body will then be airlifted to Kitgum district and taken to All Saints’ Cathedral for public viewing.

She will be buried on Saturday at the Cathedral, where her late husband was laid to rest.

Archbishop Janani Luwum was assassinated on February 16, 1977, on orders of former President Idi Amin Dada, after he was suspected of plotting to overthrow the government.

Following his murder, Janani Luwum who served as Archbishop from 1974 to 1977 is recognized as a martyrs of the Anglican Communion and the Church of Uganda and since 2015, his death is commemorated every 17th February. His statue is also among the Twentieth Century Martyrs on the front of Westminster Abbey in London.

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