The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has taken over the ceremonies for the reburial of the remains of the late commander of the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA), Lt Gen Bazilio Olara Okello, Daily Monitor has learnt.
The remains of Lt Gen Olara Okello, who was initially buried in Omdurman, Sudan, are expected in the country early morning today. The remains will be reburied at his ancestral home in Poyamo village, Kal parish in Madi Opei Sub-county, Lamwo District, tomorrow February 14.
The army has designated Lt Gen Andrew Guti, the Commandant of the Senior Command and Staff College, Kimaka in Jinja, to oversee the military honours that will be accorded to the former army ommander.
UPDF spokesman Lt Col Paddy Ankunda yesterday confirmed the involvement of the army, to give the general a befitting send off. “It is true the army is now in charge,” Lt Col Ankunda stated.
However, this newspaper has also learnt that Gen Guti and other UPDF top brass will represent the army and in official capacity.
The late General’s family hinted the UPDF could receive the remains at Entebbe airport when the plane carrying them lands between 8pm and 12am.
Dr Saverio Pido, a family elder, however, said the normal preparations are still on and the army taking charge “does not change anything”.
Gen Okello was born in Madi-Opei in Lamwo the then Kitgum District in 1928; he was the son of Rwot (Chief) Langoya Rwonomoi. At the age of 21, he joined the King’s African Rifles (KAR) in 1949, the regional British colonial army at the time, training and stationed in Kenya where he remained deployed, fighting during the British struggles with the Mau-mau rebellion.
He returned in 1962, and joined the post-independence army, where he rose through the ranks until on July 27, 1985, when he commanded an army brigade of the UNLA and staged a coup d’état against Milton Obote.
Lt Gen Okello was exiled to Sudan and sought asylum when in January 1986, the National resistance Army (NRA) under the command of President Museveni toppled the Gen Tito Okello Lutwa government. Lt Gen Okello was the then commander of the UNLA. He is said to have succumbed to diabetes in 1990 and was buried in the Sudan capital of Khartoum.