KOBOKO. Mr Khamis Adebo Banya (Born on March 2, 1954) is a professional teacher and soldier, currently serving as Koboko district service commission chairperson.
Banya was brought up from a humble and peasant family from which he learnt how to manage life through hardship.
He was one of the few teachers in the mid-1970s, who gave up their profession to join the force due to the Army brutality.
While in the Army, Banya got an opportunity to serve the Late Muamar Gadaffi, the then Libyan President as one of his Aircraft technician for nearly six years.
But when President Yoweri Museveni took over power in 1986, Banya was able to return home.
Being a bright youthful soldier, Banya decided to retired from the Army and went back into teaching, a service he carried on until his retirement in 2014.
With all the potential, it was however, upon Banya’s retirement that officials of Koboko district decided to appoint him as their new district service commission chairperson in 2015, a position he is holding to date.
Banya is a result oriented person, who always ensures success when given a task to perform.
Early life and education
Banya was born on March 2, 1954 to Late Daudi Banya and Late Norah Onjikanya of Rukulia village, Ombaci parish, Lobule sub-county in the present Koboko district.
Being his mother’s only child, Banya’s parents worked hard to make him a better person in future.
Banya’s parents never went to school but valued education so much, a reason they cultivated and sold hoe handles to pay his school fees.
Being a Muslim, Banya’s parents at a later stage in life, managed to marry for him three women with whom, they said he will be in position to produce his ‘brothers and sisters.’
Banya joined P.1 in 1963 at Lurujo primary school (PS) where he studied up to P.4. He later, transferred to Kololo PS in Tara Sub County, Maracha district for his P.5 to P.7 studies.
Upon completing primary education in 1969, Banya who was one of the best candidates in the then Arua district straight away joined Arua teachers training college (TTC) on district scholarship.
Banya spent four years at the college where he attained a Grade II Primary teachers’ certificate with a Distinction.
In 1974, Banya was posted to open a P.7 Class at Lurujo PS as a classroom teacher. In his first week of service, the then headmaster of the school assigned several responsibilities to Banya including; being the P.7 class master, the school games master and above all, the deputy headmaster of the school.
With all the responsibilities, Banya worked hard throughout the year to ensure that he achieves good results.
And it is for this reason that Lurujo PS emerged as the best school in Arua district with a total of nine pupils passing in first grade out of 36 pupils in the class in 1974.
The following year, the same school still maintained the position of being the best in the district with eight first graders out of 42 pupils and later, in 1976, the school registered 12 pupils in first grade out of 48 candidates.
However, in December of the same year, Banya decided to join Uganda Army following soldiers’ brutality on locals and civil servants in the area.
After enrolling as a soldier, Banya and other locals were taken for a nine months military training at Ngoma in Luweero district.
On completion of the course, Banya and 26 other brilliant soldiers were identified and flown out of the country for a cadet training in Russia.
While in Russia, Banya trained as an Aircraft technician for three years until 1979 when President Idi Amin Dada was over thrown.
Banya and his group decided to seek for asylum in Libya, a request the then Libyan President, Muamar Gadaffi granted. From Russia, the group went direct to Libya where they were absorbed into Libyan Air force on Gadaffi’s directive.
Banya worked in Libya up to 1986 when President Yoweri Museveni took over power and asked Gadaffi to let the group come back home.
On returning, Banya decided to retire from the Army and joined teaching again in 1987 after spending one year at home.
He started teaching at Kuduzia PS in Aliribu village, Lobule Sub County in Koboko district.
In 1988, Banya decided to go back to Arua TTC for upgrading where he studied for two years up to 1990, a course that earned him a Grade III Teachers’ certificate again with a Distinction.
Banya continued teaching at Kuduzia PS up to 1991 when he went for his Diploma in primary education at Muni national teachers’ college in Arua.
He later, graduated in 1994 with a Diploma and was straight away posted to Teremunga PS in Koboko town council now Koboko municipality as the head teacher of the school.
Banya served at the school with distinct results up to 2014 when he officially retired from teaching.
Based on his result oriented performance, Banya was in 2015 appointed as Koboko district service commission chairperson, a position he is holding up to now.
Banya got married to three women, whom he declined to name. He first got married when in P.7 in 1969, 1974 and later in 1987.
Banya managed to produce a total of 17 children with the three wives. But later, Banya divorced one of the women and now he is living with the other two.
Banya is proud of fighting ignorance in his home by paying the school fees of all his 17 children although a good number of them at a certain extent, dropped out of school.
Four of his own children graduated with Bachelors in different disciplines. He also paid two of his brother’s children up to the University.
Two of his children are now journalists, one is an auditor and the other is a human resource manager.
Up to his old age, Banya still loves games and sports so much that he sometimes, especially over the weekend, plays football with children and rarely, jogs around town to remain physically fit.
Banya derived his name from his grandfather, ‘Banya,’ who got married to Iya from Robu clan still in Lurujo Sub County.
Banya’s grandparents produced five children; one girl and four boys of whom his father, Daudi Banya was the third born of the five, who have all died.
Iya’s first born was Yusuf Banya, followed by Abdullai Banya, Daudi Banya, Alijoru Banya and the last born, Salim Banya.
When Banya’s father, Daudi Banya grew up, he got married to three women of which his mother, Norah Onjikanya was the second wife.
Onjikanya was married from Awupi – Nakaca clan in Drajini Sub County in the present Yumbe district.
Banya was the only child to his mother, Onjikanya much as his father managed to produce over ten children with the other two women.
But when Banya grew up, he was forced to marry his first wife at a tender age, and later the two other women in order to produce as many children as possible to traditionally, fill the gap left by his mother.
Banya nurtured so many people, who are now holding various offices in the country. Eunus Aliga Awa, the Koboko district education officer (DEO) is one of Banya’s students, whom he educated and nurtured into useful persons in the country.
Banya looks at his children and those of his close relatives, whom he paid in school as part of his greatest achievements in life.
Besides, Banya has held various positions as a member of Board for several organizations, school management committee (SMC) and parents and teachers association (PTA) chairperson of several schools that later on, yielded tangible fruits for the Institutions.
As a trained soldier, Banya used his knowledge to talk peace with government and several rebel leaders during various insurgencies in West Nile region, negotiations that resulted in to the prevailing peace in the region.
On October 9, 2014 (Independence Day), Banya was awarded with a Koboko district medal for being one of the distinguished performers in the district.
In 2013, he also got a national award of being the best head teacher in Koboko district.