President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni delivered a speech during the state reburial of Brig. Gen Pierino Okoya and his wife Anna Akello Okoya in Gulu. The reburial ceremony took place at the ancestral home of Brig. Okoya in Bongo-tyet village, Palaro Sub-County, Gulu District.
Brig. Gen Pierino Okoya, who served as Uganda’s Army Second Infantry brigade commander in Masaka during the Milton Obote regime, was tragically murdered on January 25th, 1970, along with his wife Anna at their home in Koro village, which was then part of Gulu District and is now in Omoro district. The assassination was allegedly orchestrated by former President Idi Amin, who was the Army commander at the time.
During his address to the attendees, President Museveni emphasized that those responsible for Gen. Okoya’s death, including Amin, faced consequences for their actions and did not succeed in life. He praised Brig. Okoya’s potential and noted his rapid rise in the military ranks at a young age.
President Museveni also touched on the historical context, stating that Uganda’s early political leaders focused on identity, tribes, and religion instead of unity, which contributed to the violence and loss of innocent lives in the country’s history.
As a tribute to Brig. Gen Okoya’s memory, the President pledged to build a technical school in Palaro Sub-County. This initiative came in response to a request made by local leaders, including the LCI Chairperson of Bongo-tyet village and the Woman Member of Parliament for Gulu District, Sharon Laker Balmoi.
Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu Archdiocese commended the President for facilitating reconciliation between the Lamogi and Palaro clans, which had been at odds since Okoya’s death. He emphasized the importance of unity and harmony among different communities in the country.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Henry Okello Oryem highlighted the significance of giving Brig. Okoya and his wife a proper reburial, expressing hope that it would bring lasting peace and healing to the Acholi Sub-region and foster reconciliation with neighboring communities.
Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-dollo acknowledged the positive impact of holding the reburial and providing compensation for Brig. Okoya’s death in healing the wounds between the Palaro and Lamogi clans.
Yusuf Adek Okwonga, the Pageya Clan Chief, praised the government for its role in facilitating reconciliation and described the reburial as a step toward peace, healing, and the prevention of further violence in the Acholi region.
During the ceremony, President Museveni also inaugurated a furnished house, valued at 200 million shillings, for the family members of Brig. Okoya, which had been constructed by the UPDF engineering brigade at his ancestral home in Bongo-tyet village. The reburial ceremony concluded with an 11-gun salute fired by the Special Forces Command Artillery Brigade as Brig. Okoya’s casket was lowered.