Wacha Olwol, the clan chief of Okii me Okabo clan died from Victoria hospital in Kampala aged 94.
PIC:The body outside council building for viewing.Photo by Hudson Apunyo
Hundreds of people on Friday turned up at Lira Airfield to welcome the body of former member of the Presidential Commission Yoweri Hunter Joel Wacha Olwol.
The Military chopper carrying the casket arrived at the Civil Aviation Authority Condemned Lira Airfield at 15:35 hours accompanied by some family members.
It was received by Lango Diocese Bishop John Charles Odurkami, Minister of Public Service Wilson Muruli Mukasa who is the deputy to Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, the chairman of the State Burial Committee and several local politicians and taken to Lira district council hall where special council meeting was convened to pay tribute.
The Speaker of Lira council George Rashid Opio received the body at the council hall.
Several people lined up on the sides of the road to get a glimpse of the body and later hundreds gathered at the district chamber compound to pay last respect giving police hard time controlling the crowd.
Wacha Olwol, the clan chief of Okii me Okabo clan died from Victoria hospital in Kampala aged 94. He will be laid to rest at his ancestral home at Corner Amach on Sunday in a ceremony president Yoweri Museveni is expected to be chief mourner.
While paying tribute to the fallen former ‘head of state’, Muruli Mukasa said its sad Wacha died but he left illustrious legacy. He said President Museveni got the news and decided that Wacha be accorded a state burial.
Muruli Mukasa the deputy chair of the burial organizing committee said the emolument due to Wacha Olwol will be paid as soon as all the technical arrangements are put in place.
Bishop John Charles Odurkami of Lango Diocese said it’s only those with God in their lives who knows and does the right thing.
“Fear and the knowledge of God is the beginning of wisdom. Joel observed it, humble, exemplary, a person of integrity, rare to be found in confusion because he sought after God.”
Former Otuke MP and Lands Minister Daniel Omara Atubo described late Wacha as a peace maker.
During Obote II government, shortly before the government was overthrown by Generals Basilio and Tito Okello on July 27, 1985, Atubo said, Mzee Wacha camped at Lira Hotel and called all prominent Lango and Acholi leaders and urged them not to overthrow the government as it would cause long time suffering.
Atubo said elders failed to convince and stop Gen. Basilio Olara Okello from going ahead to overthrow the government. Gen. Basilio Okello would later die in exile in Sudan.
He said Wacha left Lira in a helicopter around July 22 to report back to Obote that negotiation had failed and on July 24, Lira was invaded by rebel troops from Labwordwong in then Kitgum district.
“As soon as Wacha left Lira, these mad men marched to Kampala and overthrow the government,” Atubo said. “Wacha then shed tears.’
Atubo said the prediction of Wacha has come to pass that the Acholi and Lango would suffer for a long time.
The former legislator said Wacha was married to Acholi woman and in his home, both Acholi and Lango would stay amicably together.
He said during the burial of former South African President Nelson Mandela, many head of states attended. “Those elected to power, those who came through coups, those who killed people to gain power and most corrupt, all attended,” he stressed.
He quoted tribute of Barack Obama on December 10, 2013 to Nelson Mandela saying many cherish his legacy of racial reconciliation but passionately resist even modern reforms that challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality.
“There are too many leaders who claims solidarity with Madiba’s struggle for freedom but do not tolerate dissent from their own people.” Atubo said.
“Fellow Lango, there are problems, there is division in Lango, if we don’t emulate Joel Wacha, our future is bleak,” he said.
Lira vice chairperson George Okello Ayo said the fallen leader who once served in the council as a clerk was a selfless, dedicated person who worked for the country diligently and honestly without accumulation of much wealth.
Okello said Wacha-Olwols works and legacy should to be availed in the district and national archives for coming generation to read about
Okello commended the government for not forgetting the families of past leaders including that of Amin whom he said was a dictator. “My humble request is that they should not forget about the family of the late Mzee Joel Wach.’ He said.
Jefferson Obalim, a councilor said Wacha handed over power peacefully to another and this should be emulated.
The body was put outside of council building for people to pay their last respect before it was transported to his home in Corner Amach, 12km on Lira- Dokolo- Soroti highway.