Rival Chiefs Suspended from Acholi Cultural Institution

A section of chiefs opposing the leadership of the Acholi Paramount Chief David Onen Acana II have been temporarily suspended from the Acholi Cultural Institution.

The chiefs were suspended following a Council of Chiefs resolution held on June 8 this year during an emergency general council meeting, just days after they announced the removal of Acana from office..

The chiefs led by their interim chairperson also the Atiak Clan Chief Richard Santo Apire accuse Acana of plotting to sell a piece of land purportedly belonging to the institution, mismanagement of funds, and poor leadership.

Revealing the suspension of the chiefs to journalists on Tuesday in Gulu City, Rwot Acana says the rival chiefs went astray and put the image of the Acholi people into disrepute.

He notes that the rival chiefs have since their illegal resolution to oust him been using forged headed papers and stamps purportedly belonging to the cultural institution for issuing statements in their interest.

Rwot Acana says the chiefs won’t be admitted back into the institution until they apologize and pay a fine recommended by the council of chiefs.

Those suspended are John Peko Lugai II, the Palwo Clan Chief, Rwot John Ogenga Otika, the Labongo Amida Chief, Justine Ociti Binyi, the Chief of Pagak, and Collins Muttu Atiku the chief of the Patiko. Others are Richard Santo Apire the Chief of Ataiak, Michael Ojok Aginya the Chief of Bwobo, and Rwot Jimmy Ochan Luwala of Puranga.

According to Rwot Acana, he has also canceled the mandates of the members of the cultural institution’s governing council chaired by Rwot Colins Muttu Atiku whom he had appointed. Other members of the governing council include John Ogenga Otika, Poppy Paul Arop, and Linus Odwar.

He says the chiefs declined to respond to his letters requesting formal meetings on addressing the challenges of the institution.

The governing council is a committee composed of five chiefs who play technical roles, and oversee what happens in the chiefdoms on behalf of other clan chiefs.

Rwot Acana noted that the committee doesn’t in any way has the mandate to call for a Council of Chiefs meeting as it was done by the rival chiefs arguing that the responsibility lies solely with the Paramount Chief or his Deputy.

Last week, the rival chiefs released a road map for the drafting of a constitution for the cultural institution which they say hadn’t been made during the over 17 years of Acana’s leadership. They also asked Acana to step down from office as the Paramount Chief citing the position isn’t hereditary but rather elected.

But Rwot Acana on Tuesday noted that the same council of chiefs in a council meeting in June 2001 quashed a proposed move to impose a five-year term limit on the Paramount Chief position on grounds that it would turn political.

He says the position can only be replaced in case the paramount chief runs mad, killed someone, or has been committing adultery.

Rwot Acana has called for calm and unity among the rival faction arguing that he is ready to welcome them back on account that they have admitted their faults.

The Council of Chiefs in an emergency general council meeting called by Rwot Acana on July 8 in Gulu City also made proposals for a reform in the administrative structure of the Cultural institution to restore sanity. They proposed for the replacement of the institution’s Prime Minister Ambrose Olaa whom they accused of allegedly failing to offer proper accountability for funds.

The Acholi Cultural Institution has a total of 54 chiefdoms recognized by the government under the Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development.

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