Why Acholi cultural leaders are demanding monthly pay from government 

(Last Updated On: 24 October 2022)

Ker Kwaro Acholi says they are the poorest in their petition to President Museveni. They are told to wait for a feedback.

By Okot Lil Romeo

Gulu – October 23, 2022: Over 57 different chiefs in Acholi sub-region under Ker Kwaro Acholi have made resolutions to the government.

In their resolutions, one key demand is for the government of Uganda to start paying them monthly salaries.

 Other demands inked in black and white include health insurance, transport [cars], tractors, construction of the national state house; presidential demonstration farms and scholarship for their children.

This petition [demands] was presented to the office of the NRM northern coordinator.

The constitution of Uganda of 1995 Article 246 (1) reads: “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the institution of traditional leader or cultural leader may exist in any area of Uganda in accordance with the culture, customs and traditions or wishes and aspirations of the people to whom it applies.”

In Uganda, the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development [MGLSD] is mandated to oversee the operations of cultural institutions and offer guidance where disputes arise.

Neyeko George, the chief of Lukung sub-county in Kitgum district [Rwot me Lukung], revealed that they are facing challenges in paying school fees for their children. He wants the government to at least offer them scholarships to boost their level of education.

On the monthly salaries, he said the local [cultural] leaders are working tirelessly to bridge peace, and unity among the communities.

Ben Acaye, the chief of Paicho sub-county in Gulu district [Rwot me Paicho] said for so long the government was silent and not supporting them. “We have been vulnerable in the community, no respect given to us but other Kingdoms are getting support from the government.

Acaye told TND News that their health conditions are also being undermined by the government, making them useless in the community. “We have to offer the government notice that without good health work will be difficult.” He revealed that other leaders have health insurance cards.

Arop-pa Acire is the prime minister of Padibe chiefdom [Ker-Kwaro]. He disclosed that a few of the chiefs in Acholi are not educated, advising the calming government to provide a short course for the chiefs to boost the level of their understanding in the community.

“Yes, the monthly pay will help to address such problems,” he added.

Acire further criticized the government for ignoring the Acholi Chiefdom to reclaim their stolen cattle, saying chiefs are “the most victims” who lost many cattle.

He also condemned politicians for their negative mindset toward them, revealing they speak bad language on the issues of land disputes in Acholi sub-region. “They have all been bribed by the government,” he claimed.

Francis Apwa Orik is the chief of Pader town council. He highlighted that if the central government was not able to pay their salaries, then they should give a directive to the local government to put a budget for the chiefs.

Apwa blamed the office of the minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development for abandoning the  chiefs yet they fall under the docket to earn support.

“But, we have never been included in the budget,” he added, referring to the Constitutional of 1995.


Rwot Otinga Otuka Pa Otto Yai, the Deputy Paramount Chief of Acholi who also doubles as chief of Lamogi chiefdom in Amuru district, chaired the last week’s meeting. He said that the Acholi chiefdom is the poorest among other cultural institutions in Uganda.

Because they are poor, he said their attention was drawn, making them petition the government for monthly payments. “We have been supporting the government.”

Otinga appealed to the President to allow them to meet him physically when their petition reached his desk because they want to express their further demands to be resolved physically.

The deputy Resident City Commissioner [DRCC] of Gulu Peter Banya said the “petition is welcoming because the chiefs have been working hand in hand to handle land issues”.

“They have to be paid monthly or yearly to support of their families. The President should put it into consideration.”

Banya noted that if the Paramount Chief of Acholi is earning over shs5 million every month why not small chiefs? “At least shs2 million per month or year will boost the level of family support,” deputy RCC said.

However, the commissioner advised all the chiefs of Acholi to utilize the availability of land in their areas to promote agriculture to sustain food security and fight poverty in Acholi.

He told this publication that the chiefs’ demands will take a long to be handled. “…we should not wait for it.”

The NRM party northern coordinator, Bosco Odoch Olak whose petition has been presented to him to present to the President, said he will forward it.

Odoch, in his speech to the Acholi chiefs at the presidential lodge in Gulu city, advised all the chiefs to promote and love government projects like the parish development model, among others. 

He told them: “You will benefit from it and desist from being poor all the time.”

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