HomeOpinionJohn Okello: East Africa’sunsung hero

John Okello: East Africa’sunsung hero

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By Nthungo YaAfrika


HE was born in Uganda in 1937 and at the age of 27, in 1964, he freed Zanzibar and Pemba Islands from Arab slavery.
These Arabs had held sway over Zanzibar and Pemba for generations and were from Oman, in the Persian Gulf. They treated the indigenous Africans like non-beings, just like what was happening in colonised Africa.
Arabs are not a race but a nation and they have African features, this being because of the Persian invasion of Africa in 535 BC when Persians married Nahasi women. Arabs strongly reject this African connection like most South African whites and Coloureds all over the world.
As the Book of Genesis says in Chapter 1:24-31, the land, animals and humans were created on Day Six; while in Chapter 2:7, the Creator explains the material from where the first humans were moulded.
Genesis 6 shows how the whites came into being, the first branch from the Nahasi family tree. But this is lost to the foundation of the human race, the so called Africans, who are always shooting themselves in the foot.


Anonymous said: “The Creator designed that human intellectual powers should be held as a gift from the Creator and should be employed in the service of truth and righteousness, but when pride and ambition are cherished and human beings exalt their own theories above those of the Creator, then intelligence can accomplish greater harm than ignorance.”
I am forced to quote the above because of the flak thrown at John Gideon Etuka Okello. Okello’s mistake originates from Adam and Eve, the so-called parents of the human race, and humans are failing to sidestep it, except for Enoch, Elijah and Yeshua. This literally means nothing is impossible if we stop exalting our theories above those of the Creator.
What is in a name?


There is something in a name as evidenced by the name Etuka, which means ‘hope’. This name was given after his parents had lost many children before he was born. Etuka became an orphan at an early age and was raised by an uncle who was cruel to him. He ran away from his uncle and started fending for himself at an early age and his ambition was to become a soldier, which he eventually achieved at a great cost.


He worked in Kenya, East Africa, where he was arrested after he was accused of rape. He was imprisoned in a jail full of Kenya’s Mau Mau rebels and this became his baptism into politics. After he was freed, he left Kenya and went to Zanzibar where he became active in politics in 1964. The Zanzibaris were at sixes and sevens as to how to break from Arab slavery, as this was the headquarters of slavery in East Africa.
Please note: This was in 1964 when Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania had become independent, this, after slavery had been banned in the Christian world in the 18th Century. Much as colonialism was bad, slavery was worse as one became the property of another person — a chattel. And even in this 21st Century, Africans are still being enslaved in the Arab world.
On January 12 1964, Okello, at 27 years of age, did the unthinkable by toppling the government of Sultan Abdul and his Prime Minister Sheikh Shander! The world was amazed and shocked!

race, something that most Africans are afraid to say.
At the time, there were two parties in Zanzibar and Pemba — ASP led by Abeid Karume and the UMMA Party led by Babu — and these were at sixes and sevens despite having independent powerful neighbours like Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.
Today, most commentators describe Okello as an illiterate person yet they forget that bravery has nothing to do with literacy — it is spiritually inspired. This was amply demonstrated by Okello simply sending an intimidating message to the Sultan that simply ordered that he kill his family and thereafter himself and if he didn’t, the sender of the message would do it himself.


No-one in the history of mankind has ever intimidated a leader with a message to the extent that the leader leaves his subjects to fight for him whilst he cowardly leaves the throne, to seek refuge in Oman, another country. Rural Arabs, called the Manga, tried but failed to stop this revolution and were mercilessly massacred.
After the Sultan ran away from Zanzibar, Okello became the most feared man in East Africa with leaders of countries from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Malawi being afraid of him too.

In Malawi, even mentioning his name was prohibited. Okello’s strength came from the support of the masses who were deemed illiterate like him and could easily identify with him as they were in the majority;
a different scenario from other leaders surrounding Zanzibar during Okello’s revolution.
The revolution was successful because the masses understood Okello, showing that literacy does not translate to wisdom. This is also buttressed by the story of Moses in the Tambous’ corrupted Bible (Exodus 4:10-17). This chapter and verses are never remembered by all religions in the world as human beings always exalt their theories above the Creators’ creating poverty on a planet of plenty.
Okello’s mistake was his continuous self-praise
that eventually made the educated hate him like the Zanzibaris’ political elite who then plotted his downfall.
Africa’s cancer of 1884 raised its ugly head in Zanzibar when the liberated people of Zanzibar started seeing Okello as non-Zanzibari and a non-Moslem. They forgot they were under slavery because of the Arab religion of Islam — the same amnesia affecting African Christians about Roman Catholic and other Tambou Christian churches that brought slavery to Africa through the Holy Bible they had corrupted to back this evil system.

This situation was created by the Zanzibaris’ educated political elite with the blessing of Zanzibar’s neighbours Kenya, Tanzania and far away Malawi.
And barely two months after he helped Zanzibaris free themselves from Arab slavery, he was declared persona non-grata in East Africa and had only 21 cents when he left Nairobi, Kenya, for Uganda. An Ethiopian admirer gave Okello a small French sedan worth US$2 430 and a driver was told to drive Okello to Uganda. Halfway through journey, the car ran out of fuel and Okello had only 21 cents in his pocket. He then flagged a passing car and borrowed US$14 from the driver to finish his journey.
At that time, Uganda was the only country willing
to take him in. This is where he got married and had children. In 1971, he met Uganda’s emerging leader, Idi Amin, to whom he narrated his woes. In 1973, as he was going to visit his brother, he was kidnapped but fortunately enough a group of women and children saw this and he told them to tell his wife what had happened. This account is by his wife Miss Akua Okello.
Back in Zanzibar, Karume, in order to strengthen his political position, aligned himself with Julius Nyerere and formed a new country called Tanzania. This did not stop Karume from being assassinated in April 1972 at his party’s headquarters — no-one knows who pulled the trigger. In Zanzibar, Okello has been forgotten, his rise was due to his charisma and popularity among the poor, enslaved, downtrodden black people and his downfall was due to the elite political jealous bedevilling the political arena all over the world.
Americans, in their declassified documents, say that Okello, before his death, had approached them for funds to form a political party and was turned down. Americans must have told Amin of his intentions and Amin was forced to pull the trigger. In death, the actors are together — if only they could manifest, we would know what is happening there.
If this had happened before J.A. Roger’s death, Okello could have been included in his book, ‘The World’s Greatest Men of Colour’.
Kamuzu Banda used to call himself ‘Destroyer of Rhodesia and Nyasaland Federation’ but only Malawi and Zambia benefitted, leaving Zimbabawe to fight a brutal war for its independence from settler colonialists. Okello was the destroyer of the bastion of slavery in East Africa at the age of 24, that was being run from Zanzibar by Arabs, even as other African countries had gained their independence and the OAU was in existence.

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