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Won Nyaci rank: Gov’t speaks out as Eng Dr Odongo Okune steps down

(Last Updated On: 8 November 2023)

Kampala | There is hope that at last Lango will reunite culturally after more than five years of intrigue, disunity and fight over supremacy. 

The above existed because Lango Cultural management was torn apart with one faction subscribing to Eng Dr Micheal Odongo Okune’s Tekwaro Lango and another group paying total allegiance to Mzee Yosam Odur Ebii of Lango Cultural Foundation. 

The two leaders’ actions created animosity and dragged Lango culture to a standstill. 

Lango people – home and away became a laughingstock. Why? ‘How on earth would Lango, known for producing top-quality leaders, managers and politicians, have two Paramount Chiefs?’ A Japadohla man asked this writer a year ago. 

But of course, to some Lango men and women, including the government, there has been only one recognized Paramount Chief (Won Nyaci). This man is – Mzee Yosam Odur Ebii. 

Amid such recognition, Odur’s cultural leadership has had challenges where some clan chiefs (owitong) sided with his former senior minister – Eng Dr Micheal Odongo Okune. 

Now, the two factions have agreed to work together for the unity and development of Lango. In a joint council meeting held on November 7, twenty-one (21) significant resolutions were made. 

The resolutions were read by Benson Taiwo, the clan chief of Ocukuru Amola before 130 clan heads.

Also read: Won Nyaci Yosam Odur Ebii tells Lango to embrace PDM

Some of the resolutions include clan heads reconciling and working together, Tekwaro Lango leader Eng Odongo Okune stepping down for the sake of peace to prevail and that a new paramount chief be elected.

The Won Nyaci-elect is to be presented to the public by Yosam Odur Ebii before he finally leaves leadership in December 2024.

The meeting resolved to increase the number of members of the electoral commission from five to eight, increase the number of the council of elders from 15 to 21; review the constitution to allow the candidates vying for the position of Lango Paramount Chief to be aged 55 to 75, not 60 to 80.

No new clan will be formed in Lango, no merging of some clans and prayers for the clan heads be held, it was resolved.

Speaking at the same meeting, the clan head of Omola Acol Odyek Onywal Iceng George Ojwang Opota supported reconciliation in the Lango cultural institution.

Government speaks out

In an exclusive interview with tndNews at Parliament on Wednesday, November 8, Minister of State for Gender and Culture Affairs, Peace Regis Mutuuzo said, “We have always had one cultural leader in Lango and that is one we gazetted and that is the one who’s in the reign. But of course, there have been others rising up and we want to thank Eng Dr Micheal Odongo for realising that he was not a cultural leader even before.”

Also read: Exclusive: Lango palace construction starts next month

According to Minister Mutuuzo whose office directly supervises Kingdoms and Chiefdoms and Kings and (Paramount) Chiefs managing it, Dr Eng Odongo continued to agitate and maybe divert people and divide them, adding that it was not a good idea. 

“So, I want to thank him for being focused and supporting the cultural institution that stands so that there is peace, development and tranquillity.”

Asked what is going to be the roles of the ministry in transition with the election of a new Paramount Chief later in 2024, Mutuuzo replied: “Our ministry never gets involved in identifying a leader for a cultural institution or kingdom. Our ministry gets information from the ground because a cultural leader is identified by the people who cherish the culture and subscribe to it.

“So, if there is going to be an election, I’m not aware. Until we get information, we cannot make a comment but even then we don’t get involved in identifying who becomes a leader. We only gazette one who the people have pronounced as their leader.”

At some point, there was a gazette circular that Eng Odongo Okune was gazetted. Did you realise that? tndNews asked the minister who replied, “It has never happened. There has been only one cultural leader for the time I have been at the ministry. And even before I came Lango has had only one cultural leader who is in the reign up to now – Mzee Odur has been the cultural leader.”

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