Thousands turn up in Teso to celebrate Bishop Ilukor’s life

Saturday 6th September 2014

President Yoweri Museveni has paid great tribute to the late Bishop Geresom Ilukor as a great leader who tirelessly worked for peace and unity of the people of Teso region and Uganda as a whole.

“We have come here to remember one year after our elder Geresom left us. Two things continue after we have left the world. The actions you have done will be remembered long after you have gone. All these people are here because of what the Bishop did. The Bishop worked for the peace and unity of all Ugandans. Am a witness to that,” he said.

He said the late Bishop Ilukor risked his life to work and demystify the lies of the enemies of peace in Uganda and preached peace and unity until Teso and Uganda attained peace.

The President was on Saturday speaking during a memorial and thanksgiving service for the late Bishop that took place at St. Stephen Church of Uganda, Kumi Diocese. Bishop Ilukor died September last year after he was hit by a snake at his home in Kumi.

On arrival, the President opened a newly built mousoleum in memory of the Bishop and commended the Church and Kumi diocese for organising a thanksgiving service in remembrance of his excellent contribution to society especially in peace building.

President Museveni stressed that because of his approach and administrative skills, Bishop Ilukor had earned himself a lot of respect and admiration from him as an individual as well as society and challenged those whom he natured and worked with to borrow a leaf from his expertise and fill the gap left by his death and push ahead his vision for Teso and Uganda.

On development in Teso sub-region, the President said that government started by guaranteeing peace in the region by defeating the different negative forces that operated in the region and disarming the Karimajong cattle rustlers which he said was achieved.

“We have many challenges in Teso and have been handling them step by step. There is peace in Teso now. People used to say the problem of Karimojong rustlers can’t be solved, that guns cant be removed. Now the guns have been removed. A Karimojong cant pick a gun even if its free. They used to sell cows to buy the guns, but even if they are free now they can’t take them. They use their money to buy clothese and other thing,” he said.

He further said that after attaining peace, government has extended power to different parts of Teso and tarmacked several roads and said that the remaining challenge was raising household income and defeating poverty. He said that government had embarked on restocking of the region committing Shs 5 billion every financial year to the restocking of the sub-region includingTeso, Lango and West Nile but urged the people and leaders to stop politicising this well intentioned program.

‘’Some call it compensating others restocking, what is important is that we want cattle returned to Teso without people paying for them but rather at the cost of the government’’ he said.

He said government may not fully restock in a short time due to the overlapping government programs and budgetary constraints but assured the population of government’s commitment to restock all regions of Uganda that were affected by insurgency.

He also said that the Teso sub-region had been zoned to produce fruits and said that 7 million citrus seeds and 4 million mango seedlings have already been distributed to farmers in the region while government in partnership with investors from South Korea are to construct a fruit processing factory in the region. He appealed to all people to grow more fruits to sustain the factory.

The President said that government will continue to fund the establishment of a public university in the region and said that government has already committed to this cause.

Bishop Augustine Salimo of Sebei who is also the acting Dean of the Church of Uganda who represented the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda Stanley Ntagali described the late Bishop Ilukor as a pillar of honesty and justice who served the Soroti diocese at the most difficult time of insurgency but managed to steer the province and serve the church and community diligently. He described him as an ambassador of peace who preached the gospel of peace and co-existence.

Mrs Lois Mary Ilukor the widow of the late bishop Ilukor commended President Museveni for the love and support he extended to their family during the trying time when Bishop Ilukor passed on and for gracing his memorial service which distinguishes him as a true friend. She also thanked the Church for organising the thanksgiving service to honour her husband’s contribution to the Church ministry for over 25 years and his contribution to peace building in Teso and Uganda.

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