Constitutional Reforms Divide Lango Cultural Leaders

3139 Views Lira, Uganda

In short
Lango cultural leaders are divided over the ongoing reforms in their chiefdom constitution. Both the paramount chief Yosam Odur and cultural council speaker Wakili Okello have appointed parallel groups to review the document.

Lango cultural leaders are divided over the ongoing reforms in their chiefdom constitution.
Uganda Radio Network has learnt that both paramount chief Yosam Odur and cultural council speaker Wakili Okello have appointed two parallel groups.

The decision to amend the Lango constitution was reached during the Lango Conference held in December 2012 in Lira town.

Confusion, however, erupted when the two parallel groups refused to work together. On Wednesday the cultural leader Odur ordered police to block any meetings organize by Okello’s group which he described as illegal and causing confusion in the institution.

Odur says the group being headed by Okello was selfishly appointed by the speaker and that they were not sworn in by the magistrate as required by the current cultural constitution.

Retired Colonel Tony Otoa, a minister in the cultural institution, says Okello’s group only wants to amend the laws aiming at throwing out the current leadership. Otoa also blamed the council speaker for siding so much with the group that has been pushing for the removal of the current chief.

He trashed the draft constitution made by Okello’s group saying it reflects the minority view since they did not carry out wide consultations with all the clans to incorporate their existing traditional laws.

According to Otoa, this prompted the paramount chief Odur to appoint another group to the constitutional reforms commission.

Odur says the new group he appointed recently will be sworn in before they start their work. The paramount chief says they will also have to visit every sub county to consult with all the clan heads to gather their views before they can produce a draft constitution which shall be taken to the Attorney General to ensure that it does not conflict with the Constitution of Uganda.

But Wakili Okello insists that his group were legally appointed by the Council of Owitonge, and that the draft constitution doesn’t focus on removing the cultural leaders as alleged.

Okello says the draft constitution is still subject to numerous changes before it can be adopted. Okello’s group is due to hand over the draft constitution to the cultural leader on April 22.

 

About the author

Ronald Odongo
Ronald Odongo is the URN Bureau Chief Lira, Northern Uganda.A multimedia Journalist, Media trainer and investigative enthusiast. Lira,Apac,Dokolo,Oyam, Kwania, Otuke, Amolatar,and Alebtong districts fall under his docket. Odongo has been a URN staff member since 2012 though he had been a contributor since 2006.

Odongo started out as a bicycle reporter for Radio Unity in 2004. He was Radio Rhino FM's senior reporter, Luo news anchor and station producer between 2006 and 2011. Odongo started out as a freelance writer for Uganda Radio Network in 2006.

Odongo is particularly interested in reporting on community health, and education concerns. Good governance and human rights beats are dear to Odongo as a former Lord’s Resistance Army rebels captive 1996-1998.