- A new dawn, Tochi’s new People Power unsung hero unmasked.
- Acholi say “Twong Gweno ma coyo dano kodiko ki neno ma pud ki toko!” Meaning, a cock that wakes us early in the morning is seen when it’s just hatched!
Who is this unsung hero, Pat?
NOTICE: It’s a long read, more 2086 words. Get a cup of coffee, water or juice and take as you enjoy this great piece!
Pat Robert Larubi as popularly known was born in Tochi County, present day Omoro district. In the era of the LRA war, his name Larubi is translated to mean “trouble”. Maybe the troubles he grew up in an amp-metaphor for being a war child born during the NRA Liberation war and subsequent LRA rebellion.
He had a very humble background and became a self-made youth, educated himself from the rigors of the war, covered the post conflict recovery process as a journalist, exposed the ills of the war, inspired his peers and engaged into humanitarian fields to erase the signature of pain visible in the face of his people.
He rocked the country with his timely digital campaign “DressMeUp” that educated and exposed the plights of children entangled by nodding syndrome in northern Uganda’s district of Gulu, Omoro, Kitgum and Pader. He moved on to breaking myth on the plight of youth and women with albinism in and out of the country.
I was indebted in 2007, when Larubi laid bricks in Lacor /Tochi at infant age and did lots of odd jobs to raise resources to set up a school and football team in his village.
He was struggling to educate himself at college. He decided to open up the first nursery school in Lacor village and supported over 230 children.
Recognizing that children who live in improvised communities often require more than just basic education skills, Pat attempted to provide a holistic approach to education, meeting the unique social, cultural, nutritional and mental development of these children living in absolute poverty.
He was inclined to the belief that, when these children are taught relevant skills at a tender age it will help lay strong foundation for successful primary education and far beyond, thus a call to you/your organization to help support him during his “Roof above Self” block classroom construction project. It was a move aimed at building decent structures and space for children at the community learning center of Bright Destiny Academy as they moved away from the temporary mischief structures.
For the first time, the then Omoro turned Tochi sub-county and Kati Kati Lacor had a place to call home, a place where poor parents would send their children for early childhood development and education. Pat Larubi had done it all for his people.
Today, because of his endless efforts and hard work in support of young children’s education, over 20 pre and nursery schools have cropped up in the community. He is a role model and a father to the fatherless.
At his school, Larubi told me that there was a gap and many children were being left out besides the fact that Ugandan government does not provide funding for Kindergarten education. The sector is fully occupied by the private sector. Kindergarten education has proven to be very expensive for the common man at grassroots level and as such many parents and guardians prefer to keep their children with them at home till they clock seven years when they are ready for primary education and he wanted to break this traditional chain.
I settled for his argument and in 2007, he invited me to speak to his first nursery graduates at the school. I was amazed. He was doing what I was doing to support the needy at Teokono, Baghdad.
The village kids spoke better English and showcased handwriting and art skills. Larubi did this almost for free.
Why I chose to investigate this unsung hero; Larubi?
It’s leadership. Uganda has had its fair share of violent conflict since 1962 independence and worse in 1966 crises when Prime Minister Dr. Obote dethroned Kabaka as the President.
This gathered and brewed ethnic conflicts and hate, an evil properly exploited by dictator Musenveni.
To cut the story short, when comrade like Pat Robert Larubi told me “I will offer myself for Member of Parliament in Tochi”, I said yes!
I assured him that I will work out myself to get him through with a better vision and hope for better leadership. We have had all these problems in Uganda because of lack of good and authentic leadership but rather a racket of greedy chaps running the country.
In Uganda, most leaders think of their stomachs. We have had a regime for 34 years, it enriched the political class. Turning our motto of “For God and my Country”, to for “God and my stomach”
Most MPs and chairpersons of districts who rule over the poor are supper rich! Many have estates and structures worth billions of shillings and to a bigger extent, the regime has amassed wealth that has targeted enriching the politicians.
Both opposition and NRM leaders are not there for change but the next food on their table. Many only open their mouth when there is food and bribe. Parliament has lost meaning. There are those who are 20 years in Parliament but cry more than the poor Ugandans.
In Acholi, we have had leaders but are rich and damn. They don’t know whether they have poor voters, don’t care to know how they live, pay children to school. Whether children suffer from nodding disease, whether people are living positively with AIDS, and whether there’s stigma.
They don’t know! And don’t care. They have turned people into their play things. In the USA, Europe, even Kenya, we have Foundations and Charities manned by key leaders to help their people besides talking for them.
But in Uganda nothing. I repeat they don’t care. In fact, many after politics struggle to know what they did and you cannot find even one. The country needs people who care, humble, innovative and moved by love for humanity to create a just society.
What makes Pat Robert Larubi a leader in Acholi, Uganda and what the World needs?
Pat has a passion for those suffering; he is a handkerchief that erases tears! He helped educate the poor kids in his village and many have a future now far better than leaders we had and have in Parliament.
Without office, he did his best. He advocated against Northern war where there was a smart and brilliant genocide perpetrated on his people by Musevenism.
Pat like many unsung heroes, is a poor young man but for him he will rather sleep hungry for the sake of others. As people’s power advocate, he has fought corruption and bad governance.
When nodding syndrome disease, rocked and killed thousands of children in northern Uganda, Acholi in particular, Pat brought it to the fore!
When he discovered that people living with albinism were being victimized by the looks of their skin, he jumped up to fight for them. Pat is a fighter for the people and a person for others. If Pat Robert Larubi was a business, he is worth risking on.
You could be wondering and asking what is nodding syndrome?
Nodding syndrome (NS) is a neurological condition with no known cause or cure and has baffled entomologist worldwide as they labour to find solutions. Typically, NS affects children between the ages of 5 and 15 years old, causing progressive cognitive dysfunctions according to Wikipedia.
How did it come to Acholi? In the two decades’ genocide, children ate a lot of chemicals, it’s not conclusive but scientists are investigating.
On March 15th 2018, having witnessed, reported and seen the pain of Acholi children suffering from the disease, even in his would be constituency of Omoro, children were dying, but no leader seemed to amplify the cry of the people.
On this day, Pat published to the world, a story of “Adokorach left to die with the disease”. In the story, I read from New York, I couldn’t develop wings, I would have been in Gulu.
Adokorach spent the whole day starving, waiting for the mother. Adokorach is lucky her young siblings are able to play with her but other NS victims who have no option are tied on tress or locked up inside rooms or abandoned to die with a gesture of reducing the pain and suffering brought by the long season of the illness.
Pat in the story shocked the world by revealing that the only NGO helping these people, was resolving to quit.
Hope for Humans, an NGO had been supporting over 300 children suffering from nodding syndrome. Its Executive director, Ms Suzanne Gazda confirmed and it was resolved. It must be noted that this advisory and advocacy by Pat helped provoke deeper media analysis, debate and action to step up efforts to support victims of NS.
Now, we have always failed to get people’s focused leaders like Pat in Parliament because they are poor, all the little they have, had been invested in a community made poor by the regime that entrust rich mafias who also commercialize elections.
Ugandans and Africans must start investing in such leaders to build a critical mass of good intentioned leaders.
Finally, Pat is both local and international. A definition of humanity. He sniffed one local and world problem. Albinism.
Albinism is a phenomenon that needs address especially in Uganda and Africa where victims have been stigmatized, haunted like cow for ritual murder based on superstitions that the body parts fetch wealth. They are victimized more than those suffering from HIV/AIDS. Ironically, people living with albinism are discriminated, raped and used for rituals.
They believe that an HIV/AIDS infected persons get cured after raping one with albinism is pathetic. Many parents keep their children home in the name of protection and majority not even in school for fear of being kidnapped. The rest of the world, takes this seriously. The UN passed a resolution in 2014. From 2015, every June 13, is world albinism day.
Pat came up and exposed to world through his journalism, the plights of these people. He scouted for successful persons with albinism like Dr Galiwango of Mengo hospital, Hon Isaac Mwaura of Kenya and used them to inspire those victimized by giving a face to reckon on.
When I asked him, why albinism and why are you passionate about the needy? Pat – assured me that it’s just about humanity. “You and me needs a better world than this especially in this pre-colonial era, the overarching theme of UN Sustainable Development Goal is leave “No One Behind” and we are just about an inclusive world for all,” he says and continued that “My plea, is like a cry, a cry for peaceful and equal world, I am propagating UN SDG 10 and 16. I call for unity to defeat the myth and perception against albinism.”
As a front line disability rights’ activist, Pat is wrapping up with his job as communication officer with Mental Health Uganda.
Yes, from the leaders we have, we need to support such young leaders. Patriotic and innovative. The post war north and a politically damaged Uganda needs such leaders. I call upon Ugandans to join hands to look for such leaders. I will investigate and write about such unsung heroes more.
More about Pat
Pat Robert Larubi – popularly known as Pat Larry King on Facebook is a freelance news reporter/ film producer, mental health and disability rights’ activist with rich experiences in multimedia journalism and communications skills. He formerly lectured broadcast journalism/digital journalism (computer) at UMCAT School of journalism.
He spent two years at Buganda Broadcasting Service (BBS) – Terefayina where he worked as a special features news reporter. “Mucholi Wa Kabaka” they often referred to him as he diligently performed his duties. Many wondered how a non Muganda with low level of Luganda could be hired to do such complex task, but for Pat his strength had been vested in his broad media knowledge.
He has been a vessel in the progress of a number of digital online news blogs in Uganda with a number of articles to his name. With years of cross cutting media experience, Pat quit to form his own technology and online news network focusing on Northern Uganda. Through N24, Pat envisions building a vibrant, accountable and post conflict sensitive northern Uganda through provision of authentic news and information for improved livelihood.
Thanks and kind regards.
You can reach Pat at:
P. O Box 635 Gulu – Uganda.
Tell. +256-392-898-056, also Freelance news reporter/photographer
Email. firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter @larubirobert, Instagram @palarubi.
Pat Robert Larubi
Director Communications I Head of Strategies.
A great philosopher said: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
The writer, Mr. Mwaka Lutukumoi lives in the United States