Bad advisers Misled Gen Lutwa– Museveni
President Yoweri Museveni has said he would have moved along with the government of former Ugandan president the late Gen Tito Okello Lutwa had the latter not been misled by what the former described as ‘’bad advisers’’.
“When Gen Lutwa took over government in July 27 1985 while I was in Sweden. I got in touch with him directly on telephone. We could have really moved along together but he was misled by a group of bad advisers,” Museveni said.
The president made the remarks on Saturday while speaking during a service held in memory of Gen Lutwa and his wife Esther Adye Okello in Lapana village in Namukora Sub County in Kitgum district.
The event was attended by hundreds of locals, ministers and foreign dignitaries.
Mr Museveni said due to what he termed ‘‘dangerous advise from dangerous advisers,’’ Gen Lutwa lost what the president described as ‘‘a good ‘opportunity’’. The President however praised Gen Lutwa describing him as person who loved consensus and to bring harmony among his countrymen.
“It was easy for me to link up with Gen Lutwa because he was good, we had no differences. My family and his were neighbors who lived well in Upanga, Dar es salaam Tanzania,” Mr Museveni said.
Museveni added that because of Gen Lutwa’s humble background; he(Museveni) found it easier to persuade him to return to Uganda in 1993 after spending the former president had spent seven years in exile.
The president applauded the former president’s son, Foreign Affairs state Minister Mr Henry Okello Oryem for ‘‘resurrecting’’ his father’s legacy in Lapana village adding that “if you(Oryem) had been drunkard, this entire crowd gathered here wouldn’t have come to pay respect to Gen Lutwa.’’
President Museveni through his then Guerila group National Resistance Army [NRA] toppled Gen Lutwa’s Uganda National Liberation Army [UNLA] government in January 26 1986 following failed peace negotiation held in Nairobi in 1985. The 1985 peace talks is widely known in some circles as ‘‘peace jokes’’. These circles say it is Museveni who stabbed Lutwa in the back by pretending to be talking peace as NRA soldiers marched to take over the reigns of power.
The Archbishop of Church of Uganda the most Rev Stanley Ntagali who was the main celebrant at the memorial service said Gen Lutwa was a great Acholi who strongly contributed to growth and development of Uganda.
“Today is not a day for mourning or crying but rather a day to celebrate the legacy left behind by Gen Lutwa, he was a humble but brave soldier who rose from junior rank to presidency,” Bishop Nathalie said.
Dr Martin Aliker, an influential business leader and entrepreneurial mentor who was a colleague to late Gen Lutwa said the former president was never interested in war.
‘‘Gen Lutwa was a soldier trained to kill but he had a kind heart. It is the reason when he felt threatened, he decided to flee the country, he actually even told me he never wanted to be a president,” Dr Aliker said.
Gen Lutwa’s son, Minister Okello Oryem told the gathering that his father wasn’t killed by Museveni’s government as alleged in 1996 when the former president passed on.
“There has been rumors that my father was poisoned, but I want to clarify that he succumbed to colon cancer,” Oryem said.
Gen Lutwa who took over power from former president Dr Apollo Milton Obote in a military coup on July 27 1985 died on June 3 1996 while his wife Ms Okello died in a car accident in March 2002 in Kitgum district.