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Uganda mourns Dr Martin Aliker

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Dental surgeon and businessman, Dr. Martin Aliker, has passed on. Dr. Aliker died earlier today, a source within the family said.

At time of his death, he was the Chancellor of Victoria University, Uganda, a private institution. Dr. Aliker served as senior adviser to the President of Uganda and has sat on the boards of directors of nearly forty Ugandan companies.

Aliker was born in Gulu District on October 21, 1928, to Rwot Lacito Okech and Julaina Auma, the daughter of Musa Ali, the first ordained Anglican priest in the region of Acholi. He attended Gulu High School for his primary education before transferring to Kings College Budo for his O-Level studies.

In 1948, he was admitted to Makerere University, the oldest public university in East Africa. Before he could complete his studies at Makerere, he won a scholarship to Northwestern University, in Chicago, Illinois, United States, where he studied political science, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Following that, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study dental surgery, also at Northwestern, graduating with a Doctor of Dental Surgery. Later, he was awarded the title of Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons by the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

After his doctorate studies in the United States, Aliker returned to Uganda and took up employment as a government dental surgeon. Later, he left the civil service and set up the first private dental practice in Uganda, owned by an African.

In 1971, when Idi Amin captured power in a coup d’état, his residence shared the back wall with Aliker’s house. Amin’s security people ordered him to move away from his home because he was deemed a security risk to Amin.

In late 1972, he fled to Nairobi, Kenya, because of the deteriorating security situation in Uganda. While in Nairobi, he set up a lucrative dental practice, staying there until 1998, when he came back to Uganda. On his return, he was able to repossess his home.

Starting in the 1960s, Aliker began buying shares in blue chip companies, including the Uganda Commercial Bank and the National Insurance Company. As of October 2014, Aliker was a shareholder in the following publicly traded Ugandan companies: Stanbic Bank Uganda, Uganda Clays Limited, Nation Media Group, National Insurance Corporation, and East African Breweries, among others.

He sits on the boards of many of these companies and is the chairman of Uganda Clays Limited.  From 2004 until 2014, he served as the founding chancellor of Gulu University, a public university. He was also the best man to President Milton Obote.

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