By Henry Sekanjako, Moses Walubiri and Uhmar Kashaka
Veteran politician, the late Okeny Tiberio Atwoma, will be laid to rest at his ancestral home, east of Kitgum town this Wednesday.
Okeny breathed his last at Lacor hospital in Gulu district after a long spell of illness.
Parliament on Monday paid glowing tribute to the former leader of the now defunct National Liberal Party.
His body lay in state for public viewing before it was moved to the parliamentary chambers for MPs to pay tribute during a special session.
Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi described the late Okeny as a peacemaker.
In the late 1990s, he was actively involved in non-governmental attempts for the establishment of cordial relations between government of Uganda and the LRA rebels in northern Uganda.
"The government takes cognizance of the distinguished services the late Okeny rendered and contributions he made to the country in different capacities," said Mbabazi.
Betty Aol Ochan, acting opposition chief whip, described the late as a patriotic who fought corruption with integrity.
"We need to document his contributions. He never feared, he sacrificed his life, we should educate our children to be gallant sons and daughters of Uganda," said Ochan.
The MPs described Okeny as an ardent supporter of federalism who believed in peace, rule of law and democratic principles.
They also remembered him as a great Ugandan who contributed “a lot towards the attainment of Uganda's independence in 1962 from colonial rule”.
Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi said paying tribute to the veteran politician “who was an opposition member shows political maturity”.
He said it is an indicator that whatever has been achieved in the past 50 years was not single-handedly an achievement of the ruling party.
Meanwhile, Democratic Party (DP) has commended government for according Okeny – a former party vice president – a state funeral.
"We’re gratified over that gesture because Tiberio did a lot for this country especially as a member of the constitutional assembly,” DP president, Nobert Mao said.
He described the late Tiberio as a man who was relentless in championing for peace in northern Uganda and an ardent supporter of federalism in Acholi sub region.
Fact file on Okeny
He was born in 1925 to Proper Komakech and BibianaAkullo.
He studied at St Mary’s primary school Kitgumfrom 1932 to 1939 and at Gulu Seminary, Lacor from 1940 to 1943.
In 1944, he enrolled at a primary teacher training school at Nyapea.
In 1945, he was promoted to Sgt Major and was made an instructor at the army school.
In 1946-1947, Okenyserved as an administrative secretary in Karamoja Native Administration.
1948-1957, he served as Labour officer in northern Uganda.
In 1958, he served in various offices in Acholi district administration before joining the Democratic Party in 1959.
In 1984, he quit DP after unsuccessfully contesting against Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere for party presidency and was replaced by Andrew Adimola.
He subsequently formed his own party – National Liberal Party – which failed to take off.
In 1961, he represented Acholiin the London constitutional conference that wrote the 1962 Ugandan constitution.
In 1980, he contested for the parliamentary seat for Chwa.
In 1994-1995, he was a member of the constitutional assembly that came up with the 1995 constitution.