By Bonney Odongo
The nostalgic Ugandans who were eagerly waiting to pay their last respects to fallen former UNLA Special Force Brigade Commander Lt. Col. John Charles Ogole may have to wait a little longer as his family prefers to temporarily lay his body to rest in London for a foreseeable future.
The decision to keep Ogole’s body abroad was reached by his family members in London just a few days after the Ugandan government agreed to accord him a state burial which he had turned down while still alive.
According to his sister Margaret Opio, Ogole’s body was supposed to arrive in Uganda on May 17 for burial but the family decided to keep it in London after realizing that the fallen army man’s wish may not be met.
“John’s body will be kept in London until the appropriate time comes when he can be buried at his home in Loro Atidi in Loro Atidi, Orupu Parish, Iceme sub-county, Oyam district under conditions that fulfill his dying wish,” said Opio.
She added that the family feels that, at the moment when Ogole’s body is sent home, his wish that the government of Uganda not be involved in his burial arrangement will not be met.
Reports within Lango indicate that Ogole’s body was laid to rest in North London on Saturday 10, a day that was set aside for his last funeral rites for Ugandans in the diaspora.
The funeral, according to a London source, was attended by over 500 mourners from several nationalities including those who travelled from Uganda and USA.
But the leader of Lango in the diaspora Eng. Dr. Michael Odongo who attended Ogole’s birthday anniversary three days after his death could not confirm whether Ogole was buried in London on Saturday, saying he travelled back to Uganda before Saturday’s reported funeral.
“Keeping his body in London means he would be buried there for some time because you cannot keep the remains of a deceased person in a store,” said the leader.
Dr. Odongo joined the bereaved family in London a few days after Ogole’s death to share their grief on behalf of the Lango Paramount Chief, Won Nyaci Yosam Odur Ebii.
Martin Okello, Ogole’s younger brother, was slated to travel to London this week to negotiate with Ogole’s London-based relatives so his body could be returned to Uganda for burial.
Mark Olal Owili who was chairing the committee organizing Ogole’s burial in Lango said his relatives in London should allow the body to be brought home.
He said even the late Ugandan president Dr. Apollo Milton Obote was accorded a state burial by government much as he had preferred a simple burial arrangement that did not involve the state.
Ogole, famous for his fierce suppression of the bush war fighters in Luwero in the 1980s, died in a London Hospital on April 30 this year after a long battle with prostate cancer.