A Personal Tribute Dr. Martin Jerome Okech Aliker, a reflection of a life well lived.

Inks have drained, keyboards have clicked, words have poured, in celebration of a life well lived!

A cliche goes ” _the full length of a tree is only well known when it is felled down”_. The cruel hand of death felled Dr. Aliker, my father on 15.04.2024. ¬†In Acoli culture is a misnomer to talk of paternal uncles!

Dr. Aliker passed on at the right old age of 95 years!  We thank God for that.

While my father died at the age of 95, his special place in society (even in his death) owes well beyond mere chronology of age. In any case, there are people who died much older but with pedestrian legacy to their names!

We are also familiar with the Acoli saying ” _Mac nywalo bwuru_” denoting how some children with all the opportunities to make it big in life fall short. An antithesis to the saying ” _like father, like son_ ” where the father happened/happens to be a firebrand, something that flies in the face of the established pedigree and brand.

Whereas my Dr. Aliker had a privileged childhood, the Aliker we buried on Sunday 21.04.24 was a self-made man. ¬†Perhaps the main credit to his father, _Rwot Lacito Okech_ ¬†would be captured in the adage ¬†” _An Apple Does Not Fall Far From The (Parent) Tree”_. Being a younger brother to the departed brothers: Julius Peter Abe (the Educationist and Sports Icon); ¬† Daudi Ocheng who, at the tender age of 44, had already made waves in this country as an Agricultural Economist, a politician and a bridge between the Nilotic North and the Bantu South (to the point of standing for elections and being elected to represent Mityana Constituency in the 1960s), this was (is) a family with/of pedigree! From the same stock also came: Professor Okot Bwangamoi, Engineer Olum Akuu (RIP), Engineer Olal (RIP), Flight Eng Olal; Mrs. Naome Adong Wanyama, Mrs. Janety Arach Odonga (RIP) etc.etc.etc.

My father, Dr. Aliker was a man described in superlative terms:-

*As Chairman of Chairmen*.

*As Advisor to the Most Powerful*.; including H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who is believed to be a man few ordinarily advise.

*A Family Man Per Excellence*; with a lovely wife in Mummy Camille, children and grandchildren who were on his priority list.

*An International shuttle diplomat* who wined and dined with the High and Mighty, Kings and Queens, Presidents and Prime Ministers and Secretaries of States.

*A man with a robust work ethic* that was manifest in the level of success that he garnered.

*A friend to the powerful* Names like the Agakhans, Sudhirs, and members of the Buganda establishments abound in his social circles.

*A great lobbyist* with a knack for informal backroom engagements that produced results.

*An investor, businessman* with several business interests under his belt.

*A great golfer*, to beat (I need to understand the game of golf to describe his true legacy on the Course)

**An image-conscious aficionado!*; who cared about his persona and dressed finely, talked meticulously.

*A ” _Do-It-Now_ “* man, with business-like quality of directness and decisiveness, that earned him the leadership of dozens of high-profile business interests and boards.

*A cunning sense of humility* which must be the envy of, and/or to the embarrassment of the present-day political elites and oligarchs in Uganda

*A great mentor* with strings of sterling professionals to his name. Even General Katumba Wamala, the Minister for Works testified that it was Dr Aliker who counselled him to ignore the concomitant noises that accompanied his appointment as the first UPDF officer to head the Uganda Police Force under the NRM regime. Indeed Gen. Katumba graces the UPF annals of history as a professional per excellence. So Dr. Aliker was right in seeing what many did not see in Gen.Katumba, at the time.

*A National  President, and Commander In Chief*  who chose not to become. Dr. Aliker, by his own confession, turned THE opportunity to be President in 1979; a position he reportedly passed on to Yusuf Lule. How many of our politicians of today would overlook such a God-sent favour. Of course, he was part of the Moshi Conference that set the stage for the political developments that became post-Amin Uganda.

*He was a Nationalist and Patriot*.  His funeral arrangements demonstrated a national character with Charles Mbiire, a Munyankole from Western Uganda as Chairman Central Orgnazining Committee, the Deputy Speaker Rt Hon. Tayeba in tow and many business moguls in attendance.

That the State accorded him a State burial was very significant. Yet the family, in demonstration of Dr. Aliker’s sense of humility turned down some of what would really spruce the ego of the typical Ugandan political elite. For example, the family politely declined parading his body in Parliament, a place he dutifully served in.

*He was an Educationist*. Dr. Aliker ran a personal scholarship scheme which targeted the best science students through his networks. Some, or many, of the beneficiaries of this needed not necessarily have to be  Acolis or his Temajo clan mates. His focus was merit. And merit is blind to tribes or clans, a lesson for Uganda and Ugandans today.

*He was a writer* ¬†His memoir ” *The Bell Is Ringing”* should grace the libraries of all families in this land as a tribute to this man, and to pick one or two things that made him ticked, as the saying goes.

*In summary, my father’s success may be attributed to, but not limited to the following*:-

1. *The generous grace of God*.

2. *The pedigree of his parentage, and upbringing*

3. *His worldview and attitude to life*. This informed his life choices.

4. *His education*, and taking education seriously.

5. *His exposure*, especially with the scholarship opportunities to the Western world in the 20th Century.

6. *His social capital and networks*;  which translated into his net worths.

7. *His love and passion for family*.  His adorance and respect for the spouse, Maama Camille,  as a confidante is household knowledge

8. *His focus*; and eye for what he needed. This delivered many of the accolades that graced his trophy cabinets.

9. *His sense of personal discipline and integrity* etc.etc.etc.

*His Legacy Lives On*

1. *In his death, Dr. Aliker, through his family, chose to contribute all proceeds from the funeral arrangements to an initiative _Dero_ _Kwan_ (Granary for Education); a scholarship scheme to support the intelligent, but disadvantaged, children of Acoli*

2. *Many of his ventures look poised to thrive even to greater heights in the hands of an array of very responsible and articulate family members who eloquently spoke at the several points of celebrations.* Philip, a Senior Lawyer, Dr. Okello Aliker, a Senior Dental Surgeon in the footsteps of his Dad, Julie the First Born and the Grand Children (Dr. Julaina a Pediatrician Medical Doctor, etc.etc.etc) all look cut out of the same clothe as Dr. Aliker.

*The Steady Hand of Maama Camille Aliker, with the blessings of institutional memories on the family Estates leaves no gaps in the heritage of the Aliker*

3. *The friends of the Aliker family and all the social networks of relatives are intact*

4. *To those of us, the later generation of Temajo, our work is clearly cut out: to do that which it takes to promote the Aliker Brand; through quality leadership, serious family living, writing, documentation, business, etc. etc. etc*

Since in life, no one accomplishes everything, of Dr. Aliker, in his 95 years on earth, it may be said he accomplished all that he set his mind to accomplish. In this case, it was high time he retired to join the Ancestors.

He therefore resides with the Ancestors where we – as Lu’Temajo- in keeping with Acoli culture shall still be consulting and looking up to for guidance in the life this side of the Universe.

Adieu Dr. Aliker. Rest in Deserving Peace!


I dedicate this write up to the memory of the family and friends of the family of Dr. Aliker, H.E. The President of the Republic of Uganda in the person of Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and to all clansmen and friends of Temajo. Through this humble tribute, I believe, I have paid my due.l.

God bless you all.

By Robert Obita Adongakulu, of the Temajo Clan. [email protected].

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Living as a linguistic exile