Unanswered questions as businessman shoots dead son who had deserted army 

(Last Updated On: 22 November 2023)

Lira | Students and teachers of literature in English (young and old) from the Lango sub-region who had the opportunity to study or teach William Shakespeare’s King Lear are engaged in heated debate following the murder by shooting of a son by his father.

‘Hajji’ Joe Ogwang a businessman in his late 50s (about 57) shot dead his son identified as Haron Okello following a bitter altercation.

Ogwang, apparently overwhelmed with emotion and bitterness plus self-defence, while aware his son was a UPDF deserter, pulled the trigger from his pistol which saw his blood fall dead.

The incident happened in the area of the infamous Tipper Stage, Kamp Swahili Cell, Lira City East Division where Okello (now deceased) accosted his father demanding money.

It is reported that Okello attempted to disarm the father of his pistol which forced the enraged and frightened Ogwang to touch the trigger.

As the Lango people have a saying “adwar lyec, lyec en aneko…” (a hunter of an elephant is likely to be killed by an elephant, and the former soldier (Okello) also succumbed to bullet wounds not on the battlefield to defend his country but sadly and scandalously, over filial disputes.

To put it in some perspective, at the peak of his distress (blinded, abandoned and powerless) in Act 3 Scene 2 of the play, King Lear, in rage shouts and laments, “…I am A Man More Sinned Against Than Sinning…”.

Like King Lear, who acknowledges that he is not a saint, and feels that he is more the victim of sin than a sinner, Ogwang now in police custody is beginning to acquire some self-knowledge that he has blundered in his erroneous decision-making and judgement of issues, which has led to the tragedy, which will haunt him for the rest of his life.

The deceased was alleged to be the head of gangsters known as Owuwuk whose members have terrorised and robbed residents in and around the city cash and valuables worth millions of shillings.

As usual, social media users have found an item to display their knowledge on parenting with sharply divided opinions on the issue which has also dominated the 10+ local radio stations in the sub sub-region among such fora include Lango Onotte and Lango Development Agenda WhatsApp Groups with more than 700 members who have taken on the matter using different lenses.

While some have condemned the businessman for being reckless by shedding the blood of his own son, others have celebrated, arguing that many children in the area, especially Lira City have become a thorn in the flesh of their families and society as a whole.

One user says there is a group of indolent youth who have formed a loose association dubbed Billionaires in the Waiting.

“…some children are worthless and this one was going to kill his father and later grab and misuse the money and property in reckless lifestyles of booze and sexual escapades…,” some people commented in support of the father.

Others have blamed the increasing rate of domestic violence on poor parenting where spouses spend more time and days outside in the field chasing for money leaving children on their own.

“…most men now worship money and take more time in health clubs and bars feasting on pork, goats’ meat, chicken and fish plus alcohol without deepening their spirituality and faith in God…,” another remarked.

This user points out that many sons of wealthy people in Lira City wake up in the morning and assemble in pubs where they live in extravagance while praying for the speedy death of their fathers so that they take over the estates.

Another section of the population using social media platforms and mainstream media has blamed the businessman for allowing anger to take charge of his decision-making making which has ended in tragedy.

“…he should have either run away or simply disabled him by shooting at the legs, now see the mess he has put himself in to lose a son and spend years in jail…,” they charged.

As the police carry out their usual investigations, the North Kyoga Regional Police Spokesperson Jimmy Patrick Okema has confirmed that the suspect is in custody and the body of the deceased will be examined and handed over to the relatives for burial.

The matter has been registered under CRB 1002/2023 while the killer pistol with serial number UG IND 99702870 with five rounds of ammunition was recovered and exhibited.

The question lingering in the minds of everybody in Lango silently and loudly begs and answers: Is Hajji Joe Ogwang a man more sinned against or Is Haron Okello (RIP) the man more sinned against than sinning?

By Nelly Otto & Denis Arao

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