Acholi Paramount Chief, Rival Cultural Leaders Asked to Reconcile

Political and cultural leaders in Acholi Sub-region have called on the rival faction of cultural leaders and Acholi Paramount Chief David Onen Acana II to reconcile in a bid to promote harmony at the cultural institution.

The call follows a recent resolution made by a section of the council of chiefs to vote out Acana and his Deputy also the Lamogi Clan Chief Otinga Otto Yai II from leading the cultural institution.

The chiefs accused Rwot Acana of among other issues plotting to illegally sell away a plot of land belonging to the cultural institution without their notice, mismanagement of the institution’s funds, failing to produce a constitution, and discharging his responsibilities.

They instead appointed the Chief of Atiak Chiefdom Santo Apire as an acting Acholi Paramount Chief who will be deputized by John Ogenga Otika, the clan chief of Labongo Amida in Kitgum District for a period of three months.

The Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG) Chairperson also Kilak North legislator Anthony Akol told Uganda Radio Network in an interview that there is a need to have reconciliation between the rivals if the image of the cultural institution is to be saved.

Akol says the Acholi Cultural Institution remains a bedrock for unity among the Acholi people and witnessing it being ruined in bickering would set a bad precedence for leaders.

“Any division between Acholi is worst, and the worst is when it’s involving the cultural institution. Both teams need to sit down, the chiefs need to have time to listen to the Paramount Chief and he too (Paramount Chief) listen to them,” Says Akol.

He says although he had suggested the reconciliation be expedited over the weekend, the rival faction who have since ejected Acana rejected and proposed any reconciliation move be held starting this new week.

Akol also notes that for the reconciliation to bear fruits, there is a need to have a neutral force that will listen independently from both sides before they are brought together.

The Acholi Cultural Institution Prime Minister Ambrose Olaa says dialogue currently remains the most important attribute that both parties need to adopt for a peaceful resolution of the tension.

He however says it takes not only the cultural institution but other concerned leaders in the region to come together and talk soberly about the matter at hand for a better resolution.

Last week, Olaa in a statement called on the subjects of the Paramount chief to remain calm arguing that the cultural institution had taken note of the allegations issued by the rival clan chiefs and was working towards resolving it amicably.

But Kasimiro Ongom, the Chief of Patongo Chiefdom in Agago District who is among those opposed to Rwot Acana’s leadership says they had given the paramount chief enough time for dialogue but he declined to reply to them thrice.

Rwot Ongom says that whereas the Council of Chiefs welcomes calls for dialogue, it will take all the members to agree on it before the mediation can be conducted but warns that backing down from their earlier position won’t be possible.

The Paramount Chief in a statement issued last week called for an emergency General Council meeting of the chiefs on July 8 at the Cultural Institution to address the situation.

Rwot Ongom however says they won’t attend the meeting citing that Rwot Acana and his team are prohibited from carrying out any official duty on behalf of the cultural institution.

The rival council of chiefs in their resolution last week also issued a two weeks ultimatum for the Paramount Chief to vacate the institution palace and provides accountability and an inventory of assets belonging to the cultural institution.

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