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Today we celebrate the life of Janani Jakaliya Luwum who was the archbishop of the Church of Uganda from 1974 to 1977 and one of the most influential leaders of the modern church in Africa. He was a leading voice in criticizing the excesses of the Idi Amin regime that assumed power in 1971. In 1977, Archbishop Luwum delivered a note of protest to dictator Idi Amin against the polices of arbitrary killings and unexplained disappearing. He was arrested in February 1977 accused of treason and killed shortly after. Although the official account describes a car crush, it is generally accepted that he was murdered on the orders of then-President Idi Amin. We commemorate Archbishop Luwum for being a uniting and healing force within a fractured Anglican Church of his time and a country in terrible agony during Amin’s regime.
As we commemorate Archbishop Janan Luwum, the ULS is concerned with the current spate of abductions, kidnappings and forced disappearances of citizens around the country following the 2021 elections. Several citizens are reported abducted and kidnapped. It is alleged that plain clothed unidentified security operatives first beat up the abductees and take them into numberless tinted vehicles.
Article 20 of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda states that the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual are inherent and not granted by the state and therefore these rights and freedoms enshrined in Chapter Four of the Constitution shall be respected, upheld and promoted by all organs and agencies of Government and by all persons. These acts of abducting the citizens under the auspice of security operatives to curb schemes of criminality are unconstitutional and such incidences should not be ignored.
No person should be subjected to any form of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and any person found guilty of an offence should immediately be informed of the nature of the offence immediately, in language that the person understands, be permitted to appear before the court or, at that person’s own expense, by a lawyer of his or her choice per Article 28(3) (b) and (d). Due process should be followed to enable citizens receive fair treatment through the normal justice systems.
In remembrance of our past and in commemoration of the footprints made by Archbishop Janan Luwum , the ULS makes the following recommendations;
The security officers should ensure that all those held in detention who have exceeded the mandatory period should be unconditionally released. All those in cells should be charged and produced before a courts of law as per their constitutional rights.
Security operatives should immediately release the list of those who were abducted and areas where they have been held.
Additionally, the names of security officers who have been found killing, torturing and kidnapping citizens should be prosecuted personally.
The Uganda Law Society is currently handling a few cases of the same and reassure to pursue the prosecution of any personnel who is found to have
facilitated any such abductions.
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Happy Janan Luwum day