Sunday, July 16, 2006

Our father Gen. Okello didn’t kill NRM heroes

Opinions July 14, 2006

Our father Gen. Okello didn’t kill NRM heroes

Samuel Olara
United Kingdom

Your Excellency, while celebrating the NRM Heroes Day on June 8 at Kololo ceremonial grounds in Kampala, you were quoted in all the local media having told the nation and the international community in attendance that on June 9, 1981, “nine people were arrested by Bazilio Okello and killed after they refused to reveal the location of the NRA fighters in Kikandwa, Luweero.”
You were reported to have further added that because of their commitment to the struggle (your violent struggle to overthrow a legitimate government), “Bazilio Okello personally cut them into pieces with a knife.” (see story “M7 Invites Investors,” New Vision and “Peace Attracts Prostitutes, Says Govt” Daily Monitor, Saturday, June 10).
During previous “Heroes Day” celebrations on the same ceremonial grounds, Your Excellency has been repeatedly quoted saying that “these heroes” were killed under the orders of Bazilio Okello.
However, on this particularly occasion, you went one step further to allege that Bazilio personally cut them to pieces with a knife. It is not far fetched to say that even to the unsuspecting audience, it is becoming more and more difficult to determine what is true and what is deception or urban legend.
With due respect Mr President, I find it very unfortunate that the person of the president of a country with 28 million people and also aspiring to be the first East African Community head of state can peddle lies of this magnitude without providing any shred of evidence to support his statement. Such an unstatesmanly conduct can only be interpreted as soothing one’s ego or ritualising over a dead person. And whoever trusts such a person only does so at his/her peril.
On the said date on June 9, 1981, Lt. Gen. Bazilio Olara Okello (RIP) was the commanding officer of Kampala and had no military jurisdiction over Luweero. Secondly, on the said date, Bazilio Okello was already hospitalised in Italy, undergoing medical treatment.
How could he, therefore, have been in Kikandwa cutting your supporters with a knife? The family is in possession of photographic and documentary evidence to show that our father was not in the country on the date of the alleged cutting of these individuals to pieces with a knife. Rather he was in Italy undergoing medical treatment.
I can understand that You Excellency wants to justify the commemoration of your “bush war heroes” although you have done very little to assist those still living or relatives of the deceased. But maligning the name of Gen. Bazilio Olara Okello is not the way to obtaining that justification, your now rather predictable utterances only work to undermine the truth instead.
If you were making such outrageous allegations when Gen. Bazilio Okello was still alive to respond to them, it would have been no problem, but sadly, he is not. This begs the question; why didn’t you extradite him [Bazilio Okello] when he was still alive and charge him with these crimes?
Interestingly, the Justice Oder (RIP) Commission was established by you Mr President, to address the wrongs which had been perpetrated in Uganda since independence. Its role was to inquiry into “the causes and circumstances” surrounding mass murders, arbitrary arrests, the role of law enforcement agents and the state security agencies, and discrimination which occurred between 1962 and January 1986 when you Mr President and the NRM assumed power.
The Commission was also required to suggest ways of preventing such abuses from recurring. That being the case and since you were a witness to the criminal act that claimed the lives of nine innocent Ugandans, when you “hid in the bushes and watched as Bazilio personally cut these individuals (RIP) to pieces,” why didn’t you Mr President appear before the Commission and present these facts? Why wait nearly twenty years to reveal these “facts?” Strangely enough, if the lives of these supporters were as dear to you as you want the world to believe now, why didn’t you document it in your numerous publications (books)?
The Acholi have a saying, “maru kadi ibut kwede wa ite pii, wang ma loke ongene.” I will respectfully not spend time translating this proverb since I know that you speak some Acholi and you are very familiar with this particular proverb. (No one can kill the truth).
While acknowledging that the Justice Oder Commission was a starting point, I urge Your Excellency to move a step further and establish an independent commission of inquiry into what took place before and during the Idi Amin, West Nile, Luweero Triangle, Northern Uganda and other tragedies that have befallen our country, including Ugandan adventures in neighbouring countries, since human rights is a universal good and standard.
Stopping at the Oder Commission, with the two decades of carnage in northern Uganda, particularly in Acholi, only shows how skewed your kind of truth and justice is. It is therefore no surprise that you enjoy making outrageous utterances not befitting a president, let alone an African senior citizen.
In conclusion, Your Excellency, I would like to say that, in spite of your now legendary affront utterances against our dear father, the late Gen. Bazilio Okello, we the family understand your pain and love for self indulgence and will continue to forgive you, particularly if uttering his name in odium does you good. The good thing is that you are also a parent with grandchildren. We only hope your posterity will not go through the same pain that you are subjecting others to.
The author is a son of the late Bazilio Olara Okello

"It is better to be hated for what you are, than to be loved for what you are not - the oppressed shall prevail."

Monday, May 22, 2006

Bazilio Olara-Okello (1929 – January 9, 1990)

Bazilio Olara-Okello (1929January 9, 1990)

Between the 27th and 29th of July 1985, Olara-Okello was Chairman of the Military Council, and de facto head of state of Uganda.
On July 29, General Tito Okello replaced Olara-Okello as Chairman of the Military Council, and Olara-Okello was promoted to Lieutenant General and named chief of the armed forces. He commanded the army until Yoweri Museveni's National Resistance Army seized power on January 29, 1986. Olara-Okello fled to exile in Sudan, where he lived until he died in Ormduruman Hospital in Khartoum on January 9, 1990,

The Okello Generals

July 30, 1985
AROUND THE WORLD; Uganda Military Chief Is Made Head of State

The Chief of Staff of Uganda's armed forces, who has been a soldier since 1940, was sworn in today as interim head of state.
The officer, Lieut. Gen. Tito Okello, 71 years old, said, ''My services to you in this capacity will be short and you will elect a Government of your choice.''
He said that the army had overthrown President Milton Obote to bring stability and that elections would soon be held.
General Okello was flanked at the inauguration ceremony by Brig. Basilio Olara Okello, the most prominent leader of the coup on Saturday. The two Okellos are not related.


August 1, 1985
New Premier Reported Named.
A new ruling military council has been formed, with Lieut. Gen. Tito Okello as chairman, and today Mr. Obote's Vice President, Paulo Muwanga, was selected as Prime Minister in the interim administration, according to the state radio.
The military council has won the support of the Democratic Party, the main opposition under Mr. Obote's rule, but has failed to gain the backing of the National Resistance Army, led by Yoweri Museveni.

Mr. Museveni led his followers into the bush after Mr. Obote came to power in elections in 1980, mounting an insurgency that has dragged on. A statement issued by the rebel group, which reportedly still has more than 8,000 men in the bush and which was urged by the coup leaders to back the new Government, criticized the new rulers for setting up an administration without the rebel army's knowledge or consent.

August 8, 1985
AROUND THE WORLD; Uganda's New Rulers Reportedly Detain 1,000

The new military rulers of Uganda have detained more than 1,000 members of the ousted President's secret police and bodyguard in a maximum-security jail, prison administration sources said today.

Meanwhile, Basilio Olara Okello, the northern army commander who led the troops who carried out the coup that overthrew President Milton Obote July 27, was promoted today from brigadier to lieutenant general and named chief of the armed forces. He replaces Lieut. Gen. Tito Okello, the interim head of state. The Okellos are not related.
The prison sources said the roundup was mainly of members of the National Security Agency, as the secret police are called.

August 17, 1985

Uganda's military rulers named a British subject as the country's Chief Justice today and appointed four more ministers, completing a civilian Cabinet.

The Government-run Uganda radio said the Briton, Peter Allen, 56 years old, who has worked in the country's police and judicial system for 30 years, would replace George Masika, who held the post under former President Milton Obote.

Mr. Allen, from Leicester, England, criticized Government prosecutors during the Obote regime for trying cases without sufficient evidence.

The four Cabinet appointments announced today brought to 12 the number of appointees by the 12-member Military Council and completed the body. The Cabinet, which serves as the executive branch to the ruling Military Council, is headed by Mr. Obote's former Vice President and Defense Minister, Paulo Muwanga.


August 18, 1985

A newspaper said today that the Ugandan Army had held secret peace talks with a field commander of the country's strongest rebel group.
The newspaper, Munno, which is backed by the Roman Catholic Church, said army representatives and an officer of the National Resistance Army, which has shunned peace overtures from the country's new military rulers, had discussed a cease-fire at a meeting north of Kampala.

The army and the rebels have waged a four-year war.
The two sides also talked about ways to deal with undisciplined army soldiers, many of whom have gone on a looting spree since the army deposed President Milton Obote last month.
Munno said the rebel officer at the talks was Salim Saleh Rufulla. It said he stuck by earlier demands that the rebels be given half the seats on the ruling military council to reflect their armed strength. But he also said the rebels might be flexible, the newspaper reported.

December 12, 1985
AROUND THE WORLD; Election Due in July, Uganda's Leader Says

Uganda's military ruler, Gen. Tito Okello, announced that elections would be held next July, a year after President Milton Obote was ousted in a coup, the Uganda radio said today.
The radio did not say if the elections were contingent on the military rulers signing a peace agreement with the rebel National Resistance Army.

The group is only one of four major guerrilla groups that have not yet come to terms with the military regime.

Peace talks between the National Resistance Army and the Government have been going on in Nairobi, Kenya, since August. On Tuesday, President Daniel arap Moi of Kenya said the two sides would sign a peace accord on Friday.

October 29, 1985
AROUND THE WORLD; Uganda Offers Guerrillas A High Military Post

Uganda announced today that it was offering the country's main guerrilla group an equal say with the army on the governing military council and vice chairmanship of the body.
The Government called the offer today to the National Resistance Army proof of its commitment to end a four-and-a-half-year civil war that has killed, displaced or maimed thousands of people in the East African nation.

The proposals were outlined in a statement issued in Nairobi and broadcast over the Ugandan radio at the opening of the fourth round of peace talks. Uganda's military leader, Lieut. Gen. Tito Okello, and the commander of the insurgents, Yoweri Museveni, led their delegations.

General Okello arrived in Nairobi this morning to take command of the delegation from his Defense Minister, Col. G. Wilson Toko, who led the Government side in previous sessions. Mr. Museveni had not taken part since the first two rounds in late August and early September.

The guerrillas are the largest and best organized of several bands of insurgents who began fighting the civilian Government of President Milton Obote early in 1981.

October 21, 1985
New Peace Talks on Uganda Are Pushed Back by 6 Days
A fourth round of peace talks in Kenya between the military Government of Uganda and the rebels has been rescheduled for Oct. 28, President Daniel arap Moi said today. The talks had been scheduled to start Tuesday.

The official Kenya press agency quoted Mr. Moi as saying that Uganda's leader, Gen. Tito Okello, had informed him that the new date was necessary because most of the Uganda Government delegates at the talks were now attending the Commonwealth summit meeting in the Bahamas and were expected to be back on Oct. 27.

President Moi, who has served as chairman of the talks, said earlier today that only a few issues separated the rebels from the Kampala Government. He expressed hope that the fourth session of peace talks would be the last.



The Justice Minister of Uganda told the General Assembly today that his country was prepared to include a rebel group in the newly formed Government, which came to power after a military coup last July. The official, Sam K. Kutesa, said that with the exception of the National Resistance Army, his Government had negotiated successfully with all the groups that had opposed former President Milton Obote, who was replaced on July 27 by Gen. Tito Okello. ''The Military Council has vigorously pursued negotiation with all the groups which were fighting Mr. Obote's Government,'' said Mr. Kutesa, adding that Uganda had called for an immediate cease-fire and had offered the National Resistance Army six seats on the military council.
October 10, 1985 World News

August 21, 1985
AROUND THE WORLD; Ugandan Rebels Reject Peace Overtures

The main Ugandan rebel group rejected peace overtures from the new military Government today and threatened to fight on unless talks start soon.

The National Resistance Army, which is led by Yoweri Museveni, issued a statement in the Kenyan capital saying, ''If the military junta in Kampala does not immediately settle down to serious negotiations and instead goes on with gimmickry and treachery, it will be the duty of the N.R.A. to launch a final offensive.''

The rebels said they and Ugandan Army elements would ''launch a final offensive to clean Uganda once and for all of criminals, thieves, corrupt elements and opportunists.''

They said the Government formed by Lieut Gen. Tito Okello after a coup last month was made up of the same ''clique'' that had backed two deposed leaders, Milton Obote and Idi Amin. The statement was issued after the new Ugandan Foreign Minister, Olara Otunnu, said he had spoken with Mr. Museveni and expressed optimism about the talks.

August 14, 1985
AROUND THE WORLD; Rebels Said to Seize Southern Uganda Town

Uganda's most powerful rebel group has seized control of Masaka, the country's third-largest town, and appears to be preparing to march on the capital, travelers returning from the Masaka area said today.

The travelers said members of the National Resistance Army had overrun Masaka, 80 miles west of here, late Monday and appeared to be preparing to march on Kampala.
The move came as Uganda's military leader, Lieut. Gen. Tito Okello, who deposed President Milton Obote in a coup on July 27, waited for the National Resistance Army to join peace talks in Dar es Salaam, the Tanzanian capital.

The rebels have issued a series of demands for their attendance that were not met by General Okello, who flew to Tanzania with several members of his Government today.


The leader of the military coup that overthrew the Government of President Milton Obote eight days ago appealed today for unity among the various political factions in this East African country so that elections can be held in a year. Insisting that the new regime was in complete control of Uganda, Brig. Bazilio Olara Okello said in an interview that if ''we can agree on unity, we shall manage security in Uganda.'' The leaders of the country's new military council have said that general elections, which were originally to have taken place before the end of the year under Mr. Obote's administration, would be held in 12 months' time.
August 5, 1985 World Interview