Soroti, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Several leaders in Teso Sub region have paid a glowing tribute to former Minister, Dr. David Anyoti Obyara who died in Nairobi, Kenya on November 1st, 2020,
He was Minister for Information and Broadcasting under Milton Obote II government between 1980-1985.
Dr. Anyoti, a special Nominated Member of Parliament and his father, James Anyoti, was also Minister of State for National Service (1968 – 1971) in the Obote I government.
A lawyer widely described as an African Patriot and distinguished legal scholar was laid to rest on Sunday at his ancestral home in Lale Sub County, Soroti District.
His sendoff renewed Uganda People’s Congress – UPC memories in Teso from the remaining party stalwarts within and outside Teso sub region. Some of the mourners were carried away by emotions given the fact that Dr. Anyoti, who should have mentored many and contributed more to development in Uganda spent his last 35 years in exile.
The fallen minister, like Peter Iloot Otai, another Milton Obote State Minister for Defense who breathed his last in London, United Kingdom on January 2nd, 2020 have traces of rebel rebellion against the National Resistance Army- NRA in 1980s. When defeated, went to exile with several others, some of whom have remained in different countries up to date.
Speaking to mourners, State Minister for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Musa Ecweru said it was another painful moment for the region to lose a statesman in exile, whom he noted served the country diligently.
“To some of you coming to Lale village for the first time, you might think it is a sleeping village but this village was alive with giants and a beehive of activities. A cloud hanged over Uganda in 1985 which triggered exodus in Teso when rebels overthrew the elected government,” said Ecweru as he recalled Uganda People’s Army- UPA rebellion.
He noted that he has a nostalgic attachment to the fallen minister and UPA that he observed sent most of Teso best heads to exile. Ecweru asked the leadership in Teso to unite amidst challenges to revive Teso to its past glory, given the peace now under the NRM government.
George Okurapa, another Etesot still in exile in Toronto, Canada urged the Iteso in his message to mourners to remember to emulate Dr. Anyoti whom he described as a true friend, legend and Pan Africanist.
“He was unmatched stalwart in the fight against injustice. In his heart, he had no room for dictatorship; when you connect with him, he didn’t hesitate to express his feelings on an ideal state whether in Uganda or Africa. He aspired for a united Africa where we lived in peace and respect for each other. He had a wealth of knowledge on the subject of pan Africanism that he had rested with. He had a vision for a united and peaceful Uganda,” read part of Okurapa’s message.
Oliro Omara, another old guard who served as a Minister with Dr. Anyoti in Obote II government urged the NRM government to offer a platform for the return of UPC cadres still in exile. “After a violent change in government, we found ourselves in exile. But the most painful thing is that up to this time, we still have people who feel they cannot come back to Uganda and cannot say that they have just refused to come back. There could be a reason why they cannot come back, we need a lot of soul searching to find out why some people are not coming back,” he told Uganda Radio Network – URN in an interview in Lale.
He noted that there is no free space to enable some people in exile to consider returning home, something he urges government to consider.
Rt. Rev. Kosea Odongo, the Bishop of Soroti Diocese challenged leaders in government to learn from UPC leaders by providing room for dissenting views. He said that there is no need to kill one another on the basis of their political affiliation since governments come and go.
Before repatriating his remains home, government renovated Dr. Anyoti’s house and also met costs of transport and burial for the fallen ex-minister. Dr. Anyoti’s burial was attended by some UPC stalwarts in Obote government including former deputy governor, Bank of Uganda, George Elangot, Col. William Omaria and Alir Omara among others.