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Parliament pays tribute to fallen Major Gen Julius Oketta

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MPs call for the streamlining of the promotions policy in the army

Parliament on Monday paid glowing tribute to departed former deputy national coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation Maj.General Julius Oketta who passed away Saturday at Kadic Hospital in Kampala due to heart failure.

Members of Parliament (MPs) from both the ruling National Resistance Movement and the opposition, praised the fallen general, who served as an army representative in the 8th and 9th parliament.

They hailed Maj.Gen Oketta for his astuteness, gentleness, sociability, describing him as a “hard working man and a great soldier, who fought many battles to ensure there is peace and development in Uganda and Africa at large.”

The MPs, who were recalled from recess to pay tribute to their former colleague, also used the occasion to call for a clear policy on the promotion of military officers in the country.

The Justice and Constitutional Affairs shadow minister and Busiro East MP Medard Lubega Ssegona said that promotion in Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces should be seen to be on merit.

“Maj Gen.Oketta shouldn’t have died at that rank, given his experience, qualification. It is not acceptable that a man who served in Uganda National Liberation Army and the National Resistance Army with a Doctor of Philosophy (PHD) was just a Major General when people who joined after NRA had taken over, have the same and others higher ranks,” said Ssegona.

Ssegona’s statements were re-echoed by one of the seconders of the motion to pay tribute to the fallen General, Aswa MP Reagan Okumu who said there is a tendency to promote army officers depending on the political support the ruling party gets from the regions they hail from, which he said was unfair.

Some MPs demanded that the Army promotes Maj.Gen. Oketta posthumously to the rank of a Four Star General in appreciation of his exceptional service to the nation.

 

 

 

Ajuri MP Dennis Hamson Obua bemoaned the fact Oketta died at a rank of a Major General after over 30 years of dedicated service calling for his immediate promotion.

“I therefore appeal to the commander in chief and the promotions board to look into this issue. The fallen Major General can’t just go like this. He had his credentials and should therefore be promoted to the rank of a full General,”said Obua.

A motion for resolution of parliament to pay tribute to Oketta was presented on the floor by Prime Minister  Dr Ruhakana Rugunda.

In the motion, Rugunda outlined some of his achievements and asked that members of parliament collectively pay their respect recognize the contribution made by the fallen General in the development of the country.

He described Oketta as a multi-talented soldier who gave dedicated service to the nation and Africa at large in different capacities, citing his contribution to the fight against Ebola in West Africa.

“Oketta was appointed as the Head of the Africa Union Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA) where he was awarded the Decoration of ‘DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER'(DSO) by Liberian President #Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for his ‘dedication to duty and outstanding services rendered to the people and government of Liberia in the fight against Ebola’, stated Rugunda.

Seconding, the motion, the Leader of Opposition and also Kasese Woman MP Winnie Kiiza described Oketta as a humble soldier who gave selfless service to his nation with deep respect for civilian authority.

“All I remember was the salute that he would give whenever he would find each one of us and the greeting would be, I respect the civilian authority,”said Kiiza

Oketta who was a member of the pioneer class to attend the Uganda Senor Command and Staff College, at Kimaka, Jinja, Eastern Uganda in 2004, was born on 3 October 1956 and died on 5 November 2016 at the age 60.

He will be buried on Thurdsay at his ancestral home in Pabo, Amuru district, Acholi sub-region, Northern Uganda. Oketta is survived by a widow and nine children.

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