Some of the district leaders claimed not to know about the event
Leaders in Ngora district on Monday shunned memorial prayers for the 69 people who suffocated to death in a wagon in the 1989 Mukura massacre.
The chairperson of the organizing committee for the prayers, John Michael Aisu said that much as they tried their best to distribute invitation letters to the leaders, most of them did not turn up.
Aisu said they invited the district woman MP Jacqueline Amongin who did not turn up.
He added that they also invited the district chairperson, Ben Eumu and his council but all did not turn up including the host Sub County LC3 chairperson James Ecaat.
The district councilors for Mukura, Peter Akomo and Naume Ariebi also did not also attend the prayers.
Aisu said that they had invited the state minister for Teso affairs, Agnes Jaff Akiror to be their guest of honour but she did not turn up even though it was communicated to her.
“We don’t know happened to our leaders but all the same we went on with the memorial prayers which ended well despite the poor turn up” Aisu said.
The district woman MP, Jacqueline Amongin said she was aware of the function but it coincided with her official meeting in Rwanda where she was representing the country at the AU summit.
“If I was around, I would have attended. I have been attending in all those previous years, why shun this year?” Amongin quizzed.
However Eumu said he was called and notified just hours to the function when he was already in the office working.
“It’s not that I shunned the memorial prayers but I was just called hours to the beginning of the function so, I could not go because I was already engaged in the office” he said.
Eumu also advised the organizers of the event to always send invitations to the leaders early so that they can also prepare speeches for the day.
Peter Akomo said he was aware of the prayers but could not attend because he travelled to Tororo district to visit his children at school. Naume Ariebi said she had a school meeting in her village and that she could not attend.
The Ngora County MP, David Abala and the resident district commissioner Ngora, John Henry Ariong were the only leaders to attend the function.
Abala urged relatives of the victims and survivors to unit and speak one voice if they are to get any support from government.
Speaking as the chief guest, Ariong said the government is committed to supporting the families of those who died in the wagon and also those who survived. He said that recently, government gave sh200m as support to the families of the dead.
He urged relatives of the victims and survivors to come together so that government extends more support to them.
The prayers conducted annually are meant to pray for the souls of those who died as well as those who survived when the government soldiers surrounded and locked them up in a wagon for one week.
It’s believed that a total of 326 people were rounded up in the three sub counties of Ngora, Mukura and Kapir and locked in the wagon. According to records out of the 326, 69 died from suffocation.
The prayers which were led by Rev. Julius Ariko Emunaana of Mukura archdeaconry were characterized by activities like music, dance and drama by students of Mukura Memorial SS.