Acholi History – Rwot OLYA (d.o.b unknown- died-15th Nov.1923)- The father was Otira and mother Latere, from Madi sub region.
He was Rwot of Atyak kingdom for 35 years, from 1885-1923, succeeding his father Otira.
When Rwot Awich was detained by the British Colonial Administration for the second time, Rwot Olya acted as Chairman of the All Acholi Council (Lukiko).
The Omukama of Bunyoro Kabalega took refuge in Olya’s palace at Lagaya from 1896 to January 1898. Again just as in the case of Rwot Awich, Rwot Olya was guided by the same long held Acholi believe in the sanctity of life. He gave asylum to the Omukama unconditionally.
However, In January 1898, Omukama Kabalega on his own accord gave up asylum life and was on his way back home. Unfortunately when he was travelling through Lango, near Kangai he was betrayed by some individuals in thr area. They revealed his hideout to the colonial administration. Having obtained information as to his whereabouts, on 9th April 1899 he was shot and wounded, then arrested by Colonel Colville. Soon after that he and King Mwanga of Buganda were deported to the Seychelles Island. After 24 years in exile in the Seychelles he was released and came back to Uganda only to die in Jinja on 6th April, 1923, without setting foot ever again in Bunyoro. Again like Rwot Awich one can see that Rwot Olya also respected the right of asylum seekers, which as aforesaid has since 1948 become the corner stone of UN Convention of Human Rights, i.e. that someone who has a genuine fear of persecution if he were to be sent back to his/her country of origin ought not to be sent back where he/she faces persecution and possible death.
In 1908, when the District headquarters was still at Nimule, the Resident D C, Mr Guy Eden was desperately in need of starting a Police Force, but all the clan leaders failed to recruit a single person. Even Atyiak people refused to answer their Rwot’s appeal for youngsters to join the Police Service. Rwot Olya was therefore left with no choice but to offer his own son and heir apparent Abuga and two other persons from his kingdom, Boki and Yol. This three men became the first Acholi to join the Uganda Police Force, a service which at the time and up until after independence was not thought of highly, especially south of the country, as they preferred white colour jobs to uniform services. However after independence uniform services became the envy of many across the country. This act of nationalism and self-sacrifice endeared Rwt Olya permanently to the colonial authority.
In 1914: As Chairman of All Acholi Council of Chiefs Rwot Olya, as leader of the council was instrumental in promulgating the first Local Government by-law, regulating the amount payable for bride price to two cattle and one goat. Acholi youths and parents alike were said to have been overjoyed by the new byelaw, because the unregulated bride price was escalating to a point which was putting customary marriage in jeopardy and well beyond the reach of many young suitors. This achievement was acknowledged by non-other than another Acholi hero and an internationally acclaimed literary genius the late Dr Okot P’Bitek in his novel “Lak Tar” first written in Acholi language in 1953 and more recently translated into English under the title “White teeth”. In his Acknowledgement page of “White Teeth” Dr P’Bitek writes thus, “An Acholi Chief, Rwot Olya of Atyiak, made a historic mark in his attempt to limit the ever increasing demand of bride wealth when he made a decree throughout Acholiland limiting bride price to two cows and two goats”. It does not matter that other sources say one rather than two goats, a minor discrepancy, in my opinion.
//——-, reBlogged: 170325tko—–