By Patience Aber and Tony Langalanga
A sombre mood hangs over northern Uganda following the death of veteran politician and former leader of the now defunct Liberal Party.
Okeny Atwoma, 87, passed away at St. Mary’s Hospital, Lacor in Gulu municipality after a long illness.
Dr. Okidi Ochora, Atwoma’s nephew said the veteran politician died at about 4.45pm (EAT) Friday evening.
“Atwoma will be buried in Kitgum district although we are yet to meet and decide on burial arrangements. As family, we are yet to communicate details and the date of the burial,” Ochora said.
The deceased once served as Democratic Party (DP) vice president in the ‘80s.
Who was Atwoma?
He was born in 1925 in Lukwor village in Pajule subcounty in what is now Pader district.
Samuel Oduny – a colleague and former schoolmate – says Atwoma studied at Lacor Minor Seminary in then-Acholi district.
Oduny adds that the former DP politician, upon completion of his studies, worked as a labour officer in the colonial government before joining politics at the start of the struggle for independence.
During this time, he was elected as chairman of Acholi district in 1959, a position he held until 1964.
“When the struggle for independence started, he joined the Democratic Party where he contested and lost to Peter Oola to go to the Legislative Council in 1958,” said Oduny.
Okeny was also one of the special delegates representing Acholi at the Lancaster Conference.
He was DP vice-president from 1980 to 1984 before he challenged Ssemogerere and was defeated.
Atwoma then formed his own party, the Nationalist Liberal Party with Anthony Ochaya, Cuthbert Obwangor and Francis Bwengye, who was DP secretary general in 2000.
He was also a member of the Constituent Assembly, where he represented Chwa Constituency in 1994.
He was among the 18 people, who include other former DP leaders Zachary Olum (organising secretary) Andrew Adimola (vice president) and Dr. Ojok Mulozi (publicity secretary), who were in 1991 detained on treason charges.