The late Willy Oryem Achilla
A Ugandan minister has urged those still in exile to stop fearing the regime, but to return home and invest in developing the country. He assured them that they will not be prosecuted because the political climate is now different from when they first went to exile when Museveni took over power in 1986.
The minister of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Engineer Hillary Onek made the appeal while speaking as Chief mourner during the requiem mass for the last Administrator of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) Peace team of 2010, the late Willy Oryem Achilla. Oryem who died of heart cancer in a Nairobi hospital on Saturday 6th June 2015, was still in exile by the time of his death.
When Museveni took over power from the late Gen. Tito Okello- Lutwa in January 1986, a number of Acholi people of Northern Uganda fled to exile, including the late Willy Oryem Achilla. Most of them are living in London. The late Oryem lived in Nairobi, Kenya until his death.
Oryem was buried at his Dyang Mola farm ,six kilometers west of Palabek kall in Ogili subcounty on the Monday the 15th June 2015, after mass which was held at Palabek Kall Township, Lamwo district.
“You should take advantage of the current political climate and all of you should return home now as no one will harass or arrest you. If you fear security at the Entebbe International Airport, then I will pick you up from there myself. General David Sejusa (Tinyefunza) was not arrested last year when he returned from exile, yet he had a case to answer. What about you, who has no case to answer? Even if you utter things considered politically bad words to government, no one will arrest you,” Minister Onek assured.
He revealed that he talked to the late Willy Oryem on phone for two years when he (minister Onek) was still the Minister of Internal Affairs from 2011, trying to convince him to return home. He said he used to chair the National Security Committee meeting where the lists of all those still in exile who are wanted in Uganda are made bare to him. He revealed that he used to convince Willy Oryem during that time, to abandon exile life and return to develop home since his name does not feature among the list of wanted Ugandan in exile.
Minister Onek said some people he did not name convinced Willy Oryem not to return, although he had agreed to return home. He said Oryem was delighted when he learnt that Museveni’s arch-enemy, Mzee Akena p’Ojok, had expressed interest to return home from his exile life in London.
“He was delighted when he heard that Akena p’Ojok had expressed interest to return home from exile”.
Minister Onek said it was high time those in exile to begin to show the way to their ancestral homes to their children because If they don’t do that, and they die in exile like the late Willy Oryem, then their children will get lost in Europe because they will not have known village life nor the way leading to it.
“If you are not at home then your children will get lost with the way to your ancestral land and they will get lost in Europe”.
In 1997, Oryem was arrested in London when he visited his family who lives there by the British government together with Dr. James Obita because he was accused of using up four million dollars on LRA arms procurement. He was the last Administrator of the LRA Peace Team in 2010 during the failed Juba Peace Talks with the Museveni government.
According to Rwot Yusuf Adek the cultural Chief of Pageya clan who was a member of the LRA Peace Talk Delegate, the late Willy Oryem was already doing LRA works by the time he (Yusuf Adek) convinced the LRA elusive leader, Joseph Kony, to accept Peace Talks with Museveni Administration.
Rwot Yusuf Adek told The Black Star News on Saturday, June 27th, 2015 that the late Oryem, who never drank alcohol, was in-charge of the LRA finances during the period of peace talk with government.
“He was in-charge of our Finance. He would collect our money from the Secretariat for the entire LRA delegates and also pay us. He was a registered member of the Delegation as a Resource Person who was also paid some money”.
The late Willy Oryem was born on 1st September, 1945 at Palabek to the family of the late Yona Lukengkeng and the late Mrs. Perepetua Anek Lukengkeng. He began his education at Palabek Dicwinyi Native Anglican Church (NAC) School and Padibe Junior secondary School before completing his studies in Nairobi, Kenya and came out with Accountancy course, coming out with CIMA and attained Associate and Fellowship (Cost and Management Accountancy).
He is survived by two wives, Filder and Irene, ten children and seven grand children. Throughout his life, the late Oryem was involved in business.
His business empire includes Uzuri Supermarket which was located in Kampala, Unity Safari Bus Company and Dyang Mola farm in Palabek during the early eighties before fleeing back to exile when Museveni took over power in 1986.