Hundreds of mourners grieved as they viewed Wilbrod Oketchoâ€™s body at Christ the King Church in Kampala.
After his great contribution to the basketball sport in Uganda through its darkest years, Oketcho was voted most valuable player in 2000.
He played on the national team and won the national league twice when he played with Sadolin Power Stars.
On March 12, 2008, thugs attacked Oketcho at his home in Najjeera in Wakiso at 10:30pm. They grabbed his wallet and mobile phone before shooting him in the upper left thigh.
His wife, Jackie, rushed him to Kadic Hospital from where he was transferred to Mulago Hospital for an operation.
Although Oketcho had appeared to be recovering and was due to be discharged, a postmortem report showed that he developed a blood clot from the gunshot wound. The clot blocked his lungs and this is suspected to have caused his death on May 14.
Oketcho was born to William Oketcho, the MP of West Budama and Hellen Oketcho of Paya-Barinyanga in Tororo district in 1979. He was the fourth born of seven children.
Oketcho is survived by his wife, Jackie, and his four-month-old daughter, Helena.
In a somber mood, Hon Oketcho paid tribute to his son. â€œHe was not just a son, but a colleague and friend who gave honest advice to the family. He was a pillar of strength, always jolly, precise and never quarrelled with anybody. We will greatly miss him.â€
Words from the Chief Justice, Benjamin Odoki, also echoed through the cathedral: â€œAll those culprits who have caused the death of Wilbrod and many others will be brought to book. They will face the wrath of the courts of law. In such senseless acts that are now taking place in our country, we are losing people.
Thugs are killing people aimlessly and, as a result, they have ended our sonâ€™s life too soon.â€
Jackie dedicated him a heartfelt poem titled My Love in which she said: â€œWe laugh together and always you were like a brother giving me advice-my love...â€
His brother Valerie described Oketcho as a great friend, an intelligent person and brilliant basketball player.
â€œHis death has broken our hearts; Dad is shattered and Jackie is devastated. But because we have hope and know that there is life after death, we are going to stand strong.â€
The president of the Federation of Uganda Basketball Association, Ambrose Tashobya, urged mourners to realise the potential that made Oketcho one of Ugandaâ€™s most promising and brilliant basketball players. â€œHe had great talent.â€
He attended Buddo Junior School, St Savio Junior School, St Maryâ€™s College, Kisubi and Makerere University.
- Marketing assistant for Tororo Soap Industry (1996-97)
- Marketing assistant for Cotton Products Uganda Ltd (1998 -2001)
- Data entry clerk MTN Uganda (2002-2003).
At the time of his death, Oketcho was Electoral Commissionâ€™s district registrar and returning officer for Kalangala district a position he had held since 2003.
Basketball fans lose their most valuable player