By John Ogulei
Bishop Patrick Okabe the Former Teso Parliamentary Group Leader has been in the helm of TPG for close to seven years and was recently defeated by Bosco Okiror of Usuk County in an election that has seen a section Members of Parliament from Teso displeased.
With the new leadership in place and what seems to be a heavy task ahead of the youthful Okiror and his team, we look at what Teso Parliamentary Group will miss from Hon. Patrick Okabe.
Whereas he had his leadership weakness, MP Okabe who took over the leadership of TPG in the 10th Parliament when the TPG of the 9th Parliament had failed to unite the MPs strived to bring unity and harmony to the Teso MPs.
Hon. Okabe first reorganized the MPs and began by reconciling and setting a new chapter for the MPs. His patience with members and cooperation yielded results and TPG began to make gains.
Okabe was not working alone but he was being assisted by mature leaders like Hon. Isala Eragu , the Vice Chairperson, Hon. Ariko Herbert Edmund Secretary, Hon Akurut Viola, the Vice Secretary, Hon. Isiagi Patrick the Treasurer and others members in the executive like Hon. Abala David and Hon. Ajilo Mary Gorreti.
The team managed to set up a welfare account for burials and supporting Teso causes. Each MP contributed 200k monthly. Whenever there was a need in Teso, TPG had a fund to draw from.
With the unity achieved TPG under Hon. Okabe moved to identify with the problems affecting; Teso three Teso conventions were held, Equity bank became a partner and eventually opened a branch in Soroti and Teso Professionals was formed and tasked to address the resolutions of the Teso Conventions.
Bishop Okabe closely worked with Emorimor, Bishop Okile of the Anglican Church, the late Paul Etiang, Hon Fredrick Angura and other Tororo leaders where they held several meetings with H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and also recently held a meeting with the Minister for local government, his exit will definitely be a setback with any luck the new team can pick from where he has left.
Being a Bishop and respected among his fellow Pastors and Working with Bishop Obaikol, Bishop Edweu, Bishop Eitu, and other prominent Pastors in Teso, time will tell what his departure means to the already existing relationship between TPG with religious leaders of Teso.
TPG under Okabe was felt internationally and Teso became known abroad with the first being the Teso Convention in London with the Iteso in diaspora living in London and Europe and the event was graced by the Rt. Hon Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.
It is in this convention the pressure was put to increase the Teso Affairs Budget. A delegation of 7 TPG members also travelled to South Korea and built Good relations with the Government of S. Korea and the business community.
Teso Development Agenda. Hon Okabe has been in pursuit of this and a founding member in the meeting held by Telepar in April 2021.
Bishop Okabe also participated in the recent fundraising drive which raised 70m for Soroti Regional Referral hospital towards COVID-19. This seemed not to go well with some members of TPG. Each MP contributed 2 Million and Minsters 3 Million.
In conclusion Hon. Bishop Okabe, now Former Chair TPG, has set a tall bar for his successor. It remains to be seen where TPG will go after him.