KITGUM – A 30-gun salute was on Saturday accorded to Mary Luwum, the widow of former Church of Uganda Archbishop Janani Luwum, as she was laid to rest.
Thousands, including senior government officials, descended on Wii Gweng Village in Mucwini Sub-county, Kitgum District, to witness Mary being interred into the grave that was dug next to that of her husband at St Paul Wii Gweng Church of Uganda.
Mama Luwum, 92, died on August 6 after a battle with cancer.
President Yoweri Museveni, who was represented by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, described the deceased as a courageous woman whose legacy will be remembered by many.
“She has been a role model to many Ugandans with a legacy that all of us have to emulate. As we grieve her demise, let us also celebrate her life that was filled with a lot of meaning and purpose,” Mr Museveni said.
The President said when her family was being threatened by former president Idi Amin, Mama Luwum supported her husband’s decision not to flee the country.
Several dignitaries and clergy at the burial ceremony called for forgiveness among the Acholi, Lango and Kakwa tribes over atrocities that were committed during the regime of President Amin.
Deputy Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo, said that communities in northern Uganda should forgive and let go, the haunting memories of crimes that were committed against them, during President Amin’s reign.
The atrocities are attributed to President Amin’s soldiers who were mainly from the Kakwa tribe of West Nile.
“Because our children should not inherit the anger, hatred, shame, misery and frustration we have from such tragedies committed against us, we should forgive them and embrace them as our own,” Justice Owiny-Dollo said.
Many leaders who spoke at the funeral described the deceased as a woman who stood on faith.
Present at the burial was former UPC party President. Dr. Olara Otunnu, legislators from Acholi and the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Betty Aol Ocan among others.
In his speech, Dr. Otunnu said faith was Mama Luwum’s cornerstone upon, which she was able to overcome her troubled past and made her achieve tremendous a relationship with many people.
He said even when Mama Luwum’s husband was murdered, she stood firm to take good care of her family till she passed on.
She was a woman of great humility, she was ever jolly, friendly and treated everyone equally irrespective of their status,” Dr. Otunnu said.
He said Mama Luwum was very instrumental in starting a process that led to unity and forgiveness among the Acholi and the Kakwa Community in Koboko District whose sons are alleged to have had a hand in the death of Archbishop Janani Luwum.
The Disaster Preparedness Minister, Hillary Onek also the Lamwo legislator, asked the Church of Uganda to look into the possibility of canonizing the deceased Mama Luwum.
Reverend Bishop Alfred Olwa of Lango Diocese who was the main celebrant at the funeral service asked Christians to emulate Mama Luwum’s legacy.
“The demise of Ms Luwum should remind us of the goodness and life God put in each of us and the need to forgive our offenders. She [Mary Luwum] forgave the Kakwa people who approached her in January to ask for forgiveness and we should do the same,” Bishop Olwa said.
Mama Luwum is survived by seven children, sixteen grandchildren and twenty-one great grandchildren