By Dominic Ochola
LAMWO - The remains of Lt. Gen. Bazilio Olara-Okello will soon be repatriated from Khartoum in Sudan for reburial at his ancestral home in Madi Opei, Lamwo district, according to the family.
Lt. Gen. Bazilio, who was one of the commanders of Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) that together with the Tanzanian Army overthrew Idi Amin, died of suspected poisoning on January 9, 1990 from Khartoum’s Ormduruman Hospital.
“The family is planning to eventually bring back home our dad’s body from Khartoum where he was buried in the near future”, his London based son Samuel Olara revealed.
Olara said the family is also planning to rejuvenate the pursuit for repossession of their late father’s lost estates which were encroached on and confiscated by NRM bigwigs and government officials.
“We have plots of land next to Alobo Night Club in Gulu along Kampala highway, Senior Quarters - behind the presidential lodge, another one is where the Ministry of Works used to be located and all have been built upon”, explained Olara.
He further said, “We have tried to pursue them but the land board in Gulu is only interested in facilitation after facilitation, so we have put it on halt at the moment because it is costing us a lot but with time we shall pursue them.”
Bazilio’s house in Madi Opei is also in tatters because the family claims it was destroyed by the UPDF who used it as a command post while fighting LRA insurgents in the north and destroyed it when leaving.
“We tried in vain to chase the matter with the army, but we have since given up and are in the process of restructuring it,” added another family source on condition of anonymity.
Bazilio was born in the Poyamo clan of 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, about 10 years after Tito Okello and Idi Amin.
He trained at the KAR East African training wing in Nakuru, Kenya and because of his wit and grit, he adjusted quickly to Swahili the main language used for instructions.
On successfully completing training at Nakuru, Bazilio was deployed to Kenya to fight the Mau-Mau uprising – a Kenyan movement that was fighting for independence in 1952.
Bazilio returned at the dawn of Uganda’s independence October 9, 1962. He rose through several army ranks over time after independence and on 27 July 1985, he commanded an army brigade of the UNLA and staged a coup d'état against Milton Obote’s government and seized power.
He commanded the army until Yoweri Museveni’s NRA seized power on 26 January 1986. Olara-Okello then fled to exile in Sudan where he lived until he died in Ormduruman Hospital in Khartoum on January 9, 1990.