Oketta was a hero - Biraaro

By Eddie Ssejjoba

Oketta succumbed to heart failure on Saturday

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Former presidential candidate Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Benon Biraaro has said Maj. Gen. Julius Oketa was a great fighter, good parliament debater and a successful farmer.

Oketta succumbed to heart failure at Kadic Hospital in Kampala on Saturday morning.   

Biraaro said he still had vivid memories of the fallen soldier during the height of the National Resistance Army war against Milton Obote’s soldiers, where Oketa was commanding the government fighters in the famous Masaka battle.

He said Oketa gave the government an ultimatum to send him more supplies or else he quits and all the soldiers believed in him.

When the government failed to deliver him supplies, he led his fighters and joined the NRA and he never looked back.

Biraaro said he also remembers Oketa for his brave command when he moved with his troops from Ngomoromo in Kitgum to Kona Kilak, over 40 miles in a record time of less than 24 hours during the pacification of Northern Uganda. He said he was a true hero.

He described him as a great soldier and a great debater for the period he represented UPDF in Parliament and a great farmer in Northern Uganda.  

"I join the nation to acknowledge the contribution of this hero. He will be missed by many of us. On behalf of my family and Ugandans, we extend our condolences to all the bereaved," said Biraaro who was speaking from India.

He said Oketa loved knowledge and always pursued academic courses quietly.

Oketa was born on October 3, 1956.