There is a lot you can learn about the life of an individual through others. The biography of Micheal Ocan teaches us that. One person can be known differently by different people. This is what a human being is capable of.
For Ocan, it was his interpersonal relationship with people that endeared him to many. When you read through the different articles, you cannot fail but appreciate a person who had it all yet chose to be one with his people.
A trained educationist, Lapowny Ocan as he was known by many, offered his life, his skills and time to impact generations. At a time when Northern Uganda was at the height of war, many people who had options— like Ocan— left. He stayed. Through the thick of things, he endured to the end. He was a man of the people who understood his purpose and calling at a time when flight was a better option than staying.
Having experienced war at the forefront during the hard times of Alice Lakwena under her Holy Spirit Movement, his heart was hardened with the love for his community. There was nothing new about war that was going to change that.
Like his wife Betty Ocan testifies, even before he was captured, he had become a changed man. When he became the headmaster of Awere S. S. he had given up on alcohol and his public image had been rebranded. The works of Lakwena did not alter this decision. Instead, they made him a better person.
At the height of the LRA war, he was very instrumental in building peace related programs that rehabilitated peaceful transition from war to peace. His friend John Muto emphasises that to the detail.
There is a lot you will learn about his work in education, the church and the community but also as a caring and present father for a generation that registered a big number of absent fatherhood.
Olara Otunnu makes an important argument in his submission about training for the region. The best way to train people who will work and develop the community is by equipping them in that very area. When you send children to study and be trained in a faraway place like Kampala they belong to Kampala. This is one of the main challenges that many regions are facing. Most of the trained people end up where they have been trained from. Ocan’s dream was to train the Acholi in their land so they could stay to develop it just like he did himself.
The works of the late Micheal Ocan especially for the Acholi Agenda makes one wonder whether other regions have such plans. When key factors like these are discussed at a regional level other than having to wait for the National Planning Authority, I believe regional growth becomes easier to realise.
It is sad though that like many senior citizens of this country, he left no published work of his thoughts and experiences. For such a resourceful person, it is highly called for. I hope through reading this biographical work, a reader will be challenged to write down their thoughts. Our country suffers from the lack of archives. This book should work as an eye opener.
AUTHOR: Dennis D. Muhumuza & Jimmy Odoki Acellam
TITLE: The Life and Legacy of Lapwony Micheal Ocan
PUBLISHER: Optimist Media