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THE LATE MAJ. GEN. DAVID OYITE OJOK; HERO OR VILLAIN?

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THE LATE MAJ. GEN. DAVID OYITE OJOK; HERO OR VILLAIN? Empty THE LATE MAJ. GEN. DAVID OYITE OJOK; HERO OR VILLAIN?

Post by sol_drethedon on Fri Dec 27, 2013 7:11 pm

Thirty years later. Just more than 30 years ago this month, Uganda also lost one of its leading national heroes, the army chief of staff, MaJ-Gen David Oyite-Ojok, one of the leading lights in the anti-Amin struggle of the 1970s. Newkampala.net looks at the life of a man who remains one of Uganda’s military heroes.

More than 2weeks ago, the world mourned former South African president Nelson Mandela. Mandela had come to symbolise the anti-apartheid struggle.
Just more than 30 years ago this month, Uganda also lost one of its leading national heroes, the army chief of staff, Major-General David Oyite-Ojok, one of the leading lights in the anti-Amin struggle of the 1970s.

On Saturday, December 2, 1983, a military helicopter carrying Oyite-Ojok crashed at Kasozi in Nakasongola District where he had gone to review the army’s counterinsurgency operations.

His death came as a major national shock. Oyite-Ojok was the last person most Ugandans would have expected to die then and in an apparent accident.

Since the war to oust president Idi Amin, Oyite-Ojok had emerged as a hero to many, a powerful military leader to others, rumoured to be the power behind president Obote, an all-powerful, “untouchable” force in Uganda, in the same league as the then vice president Paulo Muwanga, if not even more powerful.

The country went into a period of national mourning. Radio Uganda and Uganda Television broadcast continuous messages of condolences to the president, vice president, Prime Minister Otema Allimadi and the Government of Uganda.
Crowds in Kampala, Lira and other towns openly mourned this 1979 war hero.

About Oyite-Ojok?
Thirty years since his death, we look back at David Oyite-Ojok, his life, personality, career and the still unresolved question of exactly what caused that helicopter to crash.
Who was this man who continues to intrigue Ugandans three decades after his death?

Oyite-Ojok was born on April 15, 1940 in Loro in the then Lango District. He attended Loro Primary School. For his junior secondary school he enrolled in the
Kyebando African High School in Kampala, between 1957 and 1958.
He then went on to Nabumali High School in Mbale District from 1958 to 1962. After joining the army, then called the Uganda Rifles, in 1963, he was sent to the Mons Officer Cadet School in England.

Upon his return, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant that same year, 1963, and posted to the First Infantry Battalion in Jinja, where he served as Platoon Commander, Intelligence Officer, adjutant, and Company Commander.

Oyite-Ojok was then transferred to the Fourth Infantry Battalion in Mbarara in 1966. He was deployed at the army’s General Headquarters in Kampala as a Staff Officer and head of department of the adjutant.

He was later promoted to the army’s Quartermaster General. He spent a year at Cumberley Staff College in England in 1967, and then returned to Uganda.

By this time, as the army’s Quarter-Master General and a cousin to President Milton Obote, Oyite-Ojok was among the most prominent soldiers in the country.

Family life
Not much is known about his personal life. He was married to Rebecca Ojok. She died about two or three years ago in Lira Town. He had a son called Simba, who was somewhat notorious and stubborn student at Namilyango College in the early 1980s.

A brother of his, Lt Col Martin Okech, is said to have been the Director of Music in the Uganda Airforce during the 1970s under Amin.

Like many senior officers in the 1960s Uganda Army, Oyite-Ojok was a multi-linguist. He spoke fluent Nubian, as did the future army commander and head of state, Col Tito Okello and the Commanding Officer of the Second Infantry Brigade, Brig Pierino Okoya.

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