Nacan Okori, the father to departed speaker of parliaments, Jacob L’Okori Oulanyah wants his son to be buried according to Acholi culture so that his spirit can be evoked to avenge his death.
Okori’s bizarre move follows his conviction that his son did not die a natural death but was rather poisoned by evil-hearted people for a motive that’s yet unknown.
While addressing mourners who thronged his home in Omoro Sunday, Okori revealed that his son confided to him while on his sickbed that he was poisoned in tea.
According to sources close to the old man, fingers were allegedly pointed at two people including one male in Omoro and a lady in Kampala, but their identities remain a secret for now.
“He told me that he was poisoned but the doctors were doing all that was possible to save him but the poison had already caused a lot of internal damage to his vital organs,” Okori said.
Okori’s narrative (on Oulanyah being in and out of hospital) was corroborated by information minister Dr. Chris Baryomunsi who revealed that oulanyah had spent a good part of his last few months in and out of hospital.
“As we all know, Jacob Oulanyah has not been feeling well. He has been to several hospitals; he was treated in Dubai and even underwent a surgical operation. Then here, he was treated at Mulago and Nakasero before he was flown to the USA,” Baryomunsi told journalists in Kampala yesterday.
Minister, Oulanyah Dad Clash
It is worth noting that ever since he fell sick, Oulanyah was heavily guarded from public speculation by parliament. Actually, the deputy Speaker Anita Among issued an order warning the public against speculating on the speaker’s death. She then assigned herself as the official communicator of any information relating to the speaker’s health.
The directive, however, only increased public anxiety, with social media netizens opining that it seems the speaker was flown out while dead as there had not been any current pictures of him ever since he was taken to Seattle, USA.
To quell the suspicions, Among appointed parliamentary communications guru Sarah Kagingo to manage the speaker’s social media accounts. Hence, from time to time, Kagingo uploaded old photos from the speaker’s social media archives and captioned them with current message to create the impression that the man was well.
This directive partially worked for some time but all hell broke loose when on march 14, 2022, news of Oulanyah’s death again went viral, with brave netizens circulating a Wikipedia page edited to include his date of death.
This forced Baryomunsi to come out and warned all those that were jubilating the speaker’s death as well as those making baseless speculation. And in fact earlier Monday, Baryomunsi still advised Ugandans to desist from talk of Oulanyah being poisoned, promising that the postmortem report will reveal the accurate cause of death.
However, Baryomunsi’s caution seemed not to apply to Oulanya’s father, who actually stuck to the narrative of the poison.
Okori went further to warn warned against politicking over his son’s death, also warning that nobody will sell to him a divergent narrative whatsoever.
“I don’t want somebody to bring their politics here. I know very well that he was poisoned, and whatever someone says should not distort the information we already have.”
Meanwhile, reports from sources close to Okori revealed that the old man wants his son to be buried according to Acholi tradition so that the spirit (tipu) can be evoked to come and avenge Oulanyah’s death by attacking his killer.
“As a family, we want to bury our son in a traditional way as our culture required. Since he was poisoned there’s a lot that needs to be done before he’s buried,” Okori is quoted to have said.
Another Kanyamunyu case?
It is worth noting that the Acholi have very strong rituals attached to avenging the death of their own who are killed under mysterious circumstances.
As per available literature, the Acholi usually evoke the spirit of the murdered person to show his relatives his killer and at most times, cause his/her death just the same he killed the deceased.
The ritual involves the sacrifice of a sheep or goat whose blood and “wee” (digested food in the carcass’s small intestines) are used to make the spirit potent. This is usually done with the aid of an Ajwaka/ajwaki (witch-doctor(s)) and is said to be very efficient in stirring up the ghost to attack its killer. Word has it that the same ritual was performed by the relatives of Kenneth Akena Watmon who was senselessly killed by a braggart Matthew Kanyamunyu. It is said that Akena’s spirit (then known as ‘cen’) haunted Kanyamunyu, who had to travel to Akena’s village home to do an official cleansing and reconciliatory ceremony called ‘Mato Oput’ to soothe the raging angry spirit. It is now highly believed that once this is done for Oulanyah, his killer will soon be found.
Acholi sad over sons’ deaths
Meanwhile, the Acholi community in Uganda have expressed anger over the increasing sudden deaths of their sons, with suspicion rife that they are being targeted for elimination. This sentiment came out during a press conference in which Kilak county MP Gilbert Olanya addressed journalists about the death of Oulanyah.
According to Olanya, the Acholi are puzzled as to why their eminent sons die whenever they scoop big government positions. They thus want government to come up with credible explanations, especially given the sustained narrative within the Acholi community to the effect that Oulanyah was poisoned.
“Right now as members of parliament from Acholi, we’re retreating back to the village. Government should tell us clearly if we’re not worth holding any key position in this government, so that we tell our sons who are still remaining to resign and go back home. He added: “We want to see our sons retiring like any other person. We want to see them look after their children, their grandchildren, their great grandchildren. We want to see them retiring and be advisors at home; but not attaining a position and you die within a year. This is very serious. We’re not going to talk this time; we need answers from the government. Before burying our son government should explain why that’s (sudden death) so specifically for the Acholi children who are rising up!”
It should be noted that euphoria engulfed Acholi region upon announcement of the current cabinet when it emerged that the region had scooped a whopping four top positions in the country. The four Acholi sons that had eaten big include: Gen Paul Lokech (deputy IGP), Owiny-Dollo (chief justice), and Jacob Oulanyah (Speaker). As we speak now, whoever, both Oulanyah and Lokech are dead, less than a year of serving in their lucrative positions.
Incidentally, Olanya’s narrative is shared by Acholi paramount chief David Onen Acana II who believes there’s an agenda to wipe out prominent Acholi from government. Wondering whether poisoning is the official method of eliminating opponents in government, Acana said, “we cannot pretend that all is well because we have more questions than answers about the death of other sons of Acholi
A Broader Anti-Luo Agenda?
But while Rwot Acana and MP Olanya pointed to being targeted within the country, northern Uganda based artiste Bosmic Otim took the matter even further, pointing at suspected marginalization across the entire east African region. Otim’s opinion is contained in a scathing song he outed in tribute to the fallen speaker and other prominent Acholi sons.
In the song titled Born to suffer, Otim also complains about apparent unwillingness by those concerned to address the plight of the Acholi in light of the unexplained death. Bosmic, a former NUP mobiliser turned NRM man sings thus:
“We are talking about the premature death of our Luo people. As a people we’re not happy with the mysterious disappearance of our people, with these funny sicknesses. 40 years of suffering in Egypt is no different with forty years of suffering of the Luo people in east Africa. Likening these deaths to the killing of every male child of the Israelite according to the bible, Otim says: “This is no different with the death of our male children of the Luo family. It’s so sad that history is repeating itself”
Going into what he calls an apparent lack of help, he further sings:
“And because we do not have enough oil and minerals, NATO, UN and AU cannot come to our rescue… because we don’t have what it takes to save us from this bondage. Born to suffer; Luo blood rest in peace!”