West Nile mourns death of 'peacemaker' Avutia III

Late Jason Avutia who was the Agofe of the Lugbara Kari people. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • The Agofe breathed his last on January 23, 2023 at about 5pm from his home in Mvara Dri without any particular illness.
  • Local reports suggest that he died due to old age.

Jason Avutia III, the paramount chief of the Lugbara cultural institution who died on Monday at the age of 96 has been eulogized as a “virtuous humane peacemaker.”

Amongst other things, he is also credited for the current peace in West Nile after he urged rebel factions in 1986 not to fight the advancing National Resistance Army (NRA) forces but to welcome them in peace.

“It was Avutia III who told the young boys on January 29, 1986 at White Rhino hotel to put down their arms and not to fight the NRA and they obeyed him. Not even a single short was fired and this is the peace we are enjoying today,” Ismail Tuku, the prime minister of the Lugbara Kari said.

According to him, “it is unfortunate that nothing was done by government to recognize Avutia III’s courage.”

Tuku’s opinion is backed by belief that many West Nilers, especially the Lugbara speaking people, suffered a lot since the 1979 war when majority were driven into exile in neighboring South Sudan and then Zaire- now Democratic Republic of Congo.

‘Conflict resolution’

The Agofe breathed his last on January 23, 2022 at about 5pm from his home in Mvara Dri without any particular illness. Local reports suggest that he died from old age.

Mr Benard Atiku, the former Ayivu County Member of Parliament (MP) said the Agofe “lived a humble and dignified life befitting his placement until death.”

“He will be remembered for all the conflict resolution engagements that eventually ushered peace among the Lugbara/West Nile, between Acholi/Lango as well as West Nile communities,” Atiku wrote on social media.

Deceased Avutia became the III Agofe after Jalusiga who ruled during colonial times and Marko Boroa who came after independence before the cultural institutions were banned in 1967 by the President Milton Obote-led government

One of his last wishes was to lay hands on the next Agofe, a demand he made since 2014. 

“The process of identifying his successor is scheduled to climax on February 1, 2023,” Mr Moses Mandebo Bakole, the spokesperson of the Lugbara cultural institution disclosed on January 24.  

The late Agofe started as a primary teacher in 1951 and rose through the ranks to become an education officer working in the districts of Arua, Moyo and Hoima. He also served as provincial education officer for West Nile region from 1977 up to 1982 when he retired.

He will be buried in Enivu Village, Anyavu, Logiri Sub County, Arua District on Sunday.

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