By Joseph Omagor
President Yoweri Museveni has called for an end to politics of identity.
Speaking during the reburial of the former deputy commander of the Uganda Army Brigadier General Pierino Okoya, Museveni called for politics to be geared towards the needs of the common good, “The problems of Africa including Uganda, started on a bad foundation at independence these are our views, well stated and well researched also”, the President who was the chief mourner at re-burial continued ,“This is because the political leaders who had not had enough time to prepare themselves started exercising politics of identity, of tribal, of religion”.
President Yoweri Museveni said politics of identity is equivalent to playing with fire.
This is reminiscent given that it is believed that Brigadier Pierino Okoya was murdered in 1970 together with his dear wife Anna Akello, in Koro, Gulu district, on similar political connotations.
In his memory, at around 6:30pm on September 29, 2023 at his ancestral home in Palaro, Gulu district Brigadier Okoya was re-buried with an eleven-gun salute.
Retired Johnson Lajul the eldest son of the late brigadier spoke on behalf of the family, “The murder of our father set our family back”.
By the time of his death the late brigadier General Pierino Okoya was the deputy commander of the Uganda Army.
The family expressed gratitude for the honour that has been given to their father, but also requested for the descendants to be supported with school fees.
The UPDF to hierarchy was led by the commander of the defense forces General Wilson Mbadi, “Brigadier Okoya was a citizen whose deeds made the nation rich,” he eulogised the gallant of the Palaro people.
While Lt. Gen. Otema Awany reaffirmed the commitment of the prominent Acholi sons and daughters who are serving in the UPDF to uphold the vision of President Yoweri Museveni, “Obote was the President and the commander in chief and Amin as the CDF (but they) never came to send off our dear brother, except they delegated our brother, our father the late Lutwa (Okello Tito)”, Otema who is currently serving as the commander of the UPDF Reserve force paraded 15 high ranking UPDF officers who come from Acholi sub region, before the President as a sign of solidarity.
While the Acholi traditional leaders have commended President Museveni for ensuring that their son is given a decent burial, “There was also Brigadier Oboma who was a very good friend to your brother Salim Saleh, do the same for him as well,” said Rwot Yusuf Adek of the Pageya clan who also spoke on behalf of the Acholi cultural leaders.
He also requested for the recognition of three other prominent sons of the people of Palaro including the late Lt Colonel Oboma.
The Acholi cultural leaders further requested for the promotion of their sons who occupy positions in the UPDF.
However, beyond the re-burial of the Brigadier Okoya the area Member of Parliament Simon Wokorach used the opportunity to request for more health centres to be constructed as Gulu district only has one health center 4.
This comes after the President also oversaw the construction of a modern house for the family of the late Brigadier General Pierino Okoya at 200 million shillings.
And has also pledged to construct a technical institute in the memory of Brigadier Okoya as he takes education services closer to the residents of Gulu district.
The chief justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo was among the people present to appreciate President Yoweri Museveni for his kindness, “You have made peace between the government of Uganda and the people of Acholi, so this is really important”.
It was also announced by the Gulu district LC5 chairperson Opiyo Christopher Ateker that the people of Gulu have donated 50 acres of land to President Yoweri Museveni.
To this the President accepted the donation and pledged to use it to set up a state farm.
President Yoweri further reiterated the need for political leaders to gear their efforts towards solving the needs of the common Ugandan.
The author of this article is the Next Media Group bureau chief for Northern Uganda, he can be contacted on [email protected]or follow him on X (former Twitter) @OmagorJoseph