The family of Ugandan Archbishop Janani Luwum have reconciled with kinsmen of dictator Idi Amin, who ordered his killing. Uganda’s Black Star News reports that the Rev. Canon Stephen Gelenga, from the same Kakwa tribe of Amin, delivered an emotional apology to Luwum’s family and the people of Acholi tribe during events honoring the archbishop’s legacy.

“What happened during the reign of Idi Amin, who is my kinsman, we still feel the pain after 40 years,” he said. “Ugandans cannot heal this country if we pay evil for evil.”

“As Christians from the Kakwa Community, we said we should put aside what happened in the past and let it die completely,” Gelenga said, according to a report by the Daily Monitor.

Gelenga told the newspaper that Christians from Kakwa met with Luwum’s widow at the family home in Wii Gweng and they prayed together.

“Mama Luwum forgave us,” he said. “We slept at their home, we asked for forgiveness on behalf of the people who sinned. We also want to forgive those who wronged us during the time.”

The retired Bishop of Kitgum, Macleod Baker Ochola, welcomed the development: “After 40 years, the people of Kakwa asked for forgiveness for the killing of Archbishop Janani Luwum. The people of Arua, Koboko, and the people of Uganda are witnessing this great miracle happening in Mucwini.”

“When he was killed, I heard people speak: ‘I told him his life was in danger’. Then there were people coming home for refuge,” said Phoebe Aber, the archbishop’s daughter. “He was always helping them. I started thinking, why did he have children when he loved the church more? My mum was always crying. I heard her cry a couple of times. For a child it is traumatising. If he was committed, why didn’t he play it safe? But at around 40 years, I began to understand my dad’s passion for serving God.”

A Daily Monitor editorial called for making Feb. 16, the anniversary of Archbishop Luwum’s assassination, an annual National Day of Reconciliation.

Adapted from ACNS

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