64-YEAR-OLD MAN TREKKS 332 KILOMETRES TO ATTEND ST. JANANI LUWUM DAY
By Christopher Nyeko
GULU: A 64-year-old man, staunch Roman Catholic believer has trekked 332 kilometres to attend St. Janan Luwum day in Kitgum.
Thomas Mussolini Tokwinyi said God protected him during his career in the army in 1976 when he joined Uganda National Liberation Army after finishing primary seven at Wigweng Primary school in Mucwini Sub County Kitgum District.
‘’I spent most of my youthful time in central and western Uganda. I’m currently praying at Rubaga Cathedral and Mbuya Catholic Church in Kampala,’’ he said.
Tokwinyi who arrived in Gulu City on Tuesday told UGReports that he embarked his pilgrimage’s journey on the 27th January 2023 from Naguru Go-down two in Kampala at 7:10 am and spent his first night at Kakoge trading centre in Nakasongola district.
From Kakoke trading centre, Tokwinyi trekked up to Migera trading centre then from Migera he proceeded to Kigumba trading centre in Kiryandongo district where he spent a night at his daughter’s place.
On the 30thJanuary, he arrived at Kamdini centre in Oyam district at around wee time where he rested shortly before he could proceed to Gulu City.
Tokwinyi was born on the 28th November 1959 from Pacwa in Mucwini West Sub County Kitgum district the same area where St. Janani Luwum also hailed from.
Tokwinyi, who was wearing open rubber shoes and black trousers with a grey shirt with a mat at hand, Black back Bag and Guard containing his drinking water, arrived in Gulu city at around 10:00 am in a good shape while looking very strong.
He received warm reception from the diocese of Northern Uganda which was represented by Ordinand Charles Ojino Apwa, and by Tokwiny’s relatives and some Christians who had pitched camp at Layibi corner were happy upon hearing the messages from the media on his arrival in the city.
Tokwinyi was then led to Christ church parish to rest and then led to Churchill court hotel in Gulu city where he is now accommodated as he plans to resume trekking on Friday.
On the 16th February he is expected to be joined by thousands of Christians who are expected to throng the place to attend the 2023 St. Janani Luwum Martyr day celebration.
This year theme is taken from the letter of Saint Paul to (Ephesians 4:11-16) “united for service and growth”
The event is being organized by the Anglican diocese of Lango and west Lango diocese.
At least over 80 have been registered in Lango to participate in foot pilgrimages and the flag off on the 12th February from all St. Cathedrals Boro Boro.
Kitgum Diocese bishop Wilson Kitara however told UGReports that the local organizing Committee in Kitgum is preparing for a public lecture scheduled on the 15th February 2023 at Kitgum district council hall.
The Bishop also appreciated the first foot pilgrim who had decided on his own to embark on the long distances amidst his ages.
He said though it should also be a lesson to everyone to decide to carry their heavy cross if they want to reach into the kingdom of God.
However, Tokwinyi is optimistic that he will trek for five days to reach Mucwini as he is expecting that many of the people are going to delay him saying he has started receiving many calls from them waiting to have him in their home along the roads.
Ordinand Charles Ojino Apwa upon receiving the pilgrim says “As a diocese of Northern Uganda we are happy to welcome him to our Diocese though from here are preparing to start pilgrimages on the 12th February where we estimate we would trek for five days to Mucwini.
He revealed that the Church of Uganda had planned to start pilgrimages from Kampala where St. Janani Luwum was killed but due to the ministry of health guidelines on Ebola, the church had to drop the plan.
Ojino added that now that the country has been declared Ebola free, the faithful from the diocese of northern Uganda are going to converge at St. Philips Cathedral where they would begin their pilgrimages from.
He presumed that the northern diocese is expecting to register over 50 pilgrims who will participate in this year’s foot pilgrimages.
In 1964 Thomas Tokwinyi Mussolini was baptized at the age of six from Nyamitanga catholic Parish in the then Mbarara district. His father Romeo Obita who was the army officer in king’s African rifles and was working in Mbarara.
His father being an army officer, Tokwinyi prompted Thomas to also join Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) in 1976 and in 1984 he requested for premature retirement which was granted.
He then went to Fort Portal to work in Toro and Mityana tea estates as drivers.
Who is Saint Janani Luwum?
Luwum, the former Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaire, was one of the most influential leaders of the modern Church in Africa and a leading voice in criticizing the excesses of Idi Amin’s regime, among them the torture of citizens, arbitrary killings and unexplained disappearances of civilians and soldiers.
But he was killed on February 16th, 1977, shortly after delivering a note of protest to Amin against the said excesses. He and other churchmen had been accused of being agents of the exiled former president Apollo Milton Obote, and for planning to stage a coup against the Idi-Amin administration.
The next day, Radio Uganda announced that Luwum and three others, among them two government ministers; Charles Oboth Ofumbi and Lt. Col. Erinayo Oryema, had died in an accident in Kampala.
Luwum was buried at Wii Gweng in Mucwini sub-county, Kitgum district.
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