Tito Lutwa Okello (1914 – 3 June 1996) was a Ugandan military officer and politician. He was the eighth president of Uganda from 29 July 1985 until 26 January 1986.[1]

Tito Lutwa Okello
8th President of Uganda
In office
29 July 1985 – 26 January 1986
Preceded byBazilio Olara-Okello
Succeeded byYoweri Museveni
Personal details
Tito Lutwa Okello

Kitgum District, Uganda
Died3 June 1996(1996-06-03) (aged 81)
Kampala, Uganda
Military service
Allegiance British Empire
Branch/serviceBritish Army
Uganda Army
Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA)
Years of service1940–1962 (British Empire)
1962–1971 (Uganda Army)
1979–1986 (UNLA)
UnitKing's African Rifles
Uganda Army
Uganda National Liberation Army
Battles/warsEast African Campaign
1972 invasion of Uganda
Uganda–Tanzania War
Ugandan Bush War


Tito Okello was born into an ethnic Acholi family in circa 1914 in Nam Okora, Kitgum District.[2]

He joined the King's African Rifles in 1940 and served in the East African Campaign of World War II. As a career military officer, he had a variety of assignments.

As follower of President Milton Obote, Okello went into exile following the 1971 coup d'état that resulted in Idi Amin becoming Uganda's new ruler. In 1972, rebels invaded Uganda to restore Obote. Okello was one of the leaders of an insurgent group which targeted Masaka. The invasion was defeated by loyalist Uganda Army troops.[3]

Okello took part in the Uganda–Tanzania War. He was one of the commanders in the coalition between the Tanzania People's Defence Force and the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) that removed Amin from power in 1979. In 1980, Obote was restored to presidency. Okello was selected to be the Commander of the UNLA from 1980 to 1985.[1]

Coup d'étatEdit

In July 1985, together with Bazilio Olara-Okello, Tito Lutwa Okello staged the coup d'état that toppled President Obote. He ruled as president for six months until he had to transfer power to the National Resistance Army (NRA) operating under the leadership of the current president, Yoweri Museveni. He went into exile in Kenya after his tenure was forcefully terminated by Museveni.[2]

Extended familyEdit

Tito Okello's son Henry Oryem Okello is the current State Minister for Foreign Affairs responsible for International Affairs.[1][2] In 2002, Tito Okello's younger brother, Erisanweri Opira, was abducted from his home in Kitgum District by the rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). His abduction was considered unusual as the LRA usually kidnapped teenagers and young people to use as prospective soldiers or sex slaves. Opira was in his late seventies when he was abducted.[4]

Final yearsEdit

Okello remained in exile until 1993, when he was granted amnesty by President Museveni and returned to Kampala. He died three years later, of an undisclosed illness, on 3 June 1996. He was almost 82 years old at the time of his death. His remains were buried at his ancestral home in Kitgum District.[5]

Legacy and honoursEdit

In January 2010, Okello was posthumously awarded the Kagera National Medal of Honor for fighting against the Idi Amin dictatorship in the 1970s.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Uganda State House, . "President Tito Okello Lutwa (General)". Statehouse.go.ug. Retrieved 16 February 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ a b c Titus Kakembo, and Joel Ogwang (25 January 2012). "Tito Okello: The President Who Was Kept On His Toes". New Vision (Kampala). Archived from the original on 16 February 2015. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  3. ^ "Obote, Museveni blame each other for failed 1972 invasion of Uganda". Daily Monitor. 14 September 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2021.
  4. ^ Ross, Will (24 July 2002). "Uganda Rebels Grab Ex-President's Brother". BBC News (London). Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  5. ^ ASP, . (10 June 1996). "General Tito Okello, Ex-Ugandan Leader, 82". New York Times Quoting Associated Press (ASP). Retrieved 16 February 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Milton Olupot, and Daniel Edyegu (26 January 2010). "Museveni, Janet, Moi Get National Medals". New Vision (Kampala). Archived from the original on 30 January 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2015.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by President of Uganda
29 July 1985 – 26 January 1986
Succeeded by