February 16 is an important day for Christians in Africa.
On 16 February
1977, Anglican Archbishop Janani Luwum was assissinated by the military
of dictator Idi Amin, his body placed in mangled car wreck in a staged
Reports suggest Amin ordered the cleric’s death.
16, 1992 in the then Zaire, today's Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC),
the Catholic Church organized the "peaceful march of Christians" to
force another dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko, to bring together the
Sovereign National Conference that was to organize free and independent
The police intervened, killing about twenty protesters. But
Mobutu had to yield to domestic and international pressure, and on
August 14 1992 opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi (who died recently) became the Prime Minister of a transitional
government that had to lead the country to elections.
In Uganda the memory of the Anglican Archbishop’s sacrifice assumed an
ecumenical meaning since St. John Paul II, during his visit to the
country in 1982, paid tribute to the Martyrs' chapel in the Anglican
Cathedral in Canterbury.
The chapel was created to remember Archbishop
Today’s DRC hopes that the memory of popular mobilization in favor of
democracy spurs politicians to overcome the impasse on the
implementation of the Agreement of San Silvestro (see Fides 03/01/2017)
to lead the Country to new elections.
The road to democracy is difficult
but not impossible, although marked by the blood of many.