The little known Lugbara chiefdom commonly called Agofe has been officially recognized by the central government. This comes four years after the agitators for recognition of the chiefdom started their campaign, convincing both the government and the local population to accept the chiefdom as a cultural institution.
This comes four years after the agitators for recognition of the chiefdom started their campaign, convincing both the government and the local population to accept the chiefdom as a cultural institution.
Earlier on, residents in Arua district where the chiefdom is located, had opposed the idea of recognizing the establishment of the chiefdom arguing that in the Lugbara culture they did not have anything like kings as opposed to traditional chiefs who were not elected.
But under the constitution of the new Lugbara cultural institution, leadership would be rotational in a period of five years amongst the six counties, and a king (Agofe) who has already served one term can be eligible for re-election depending on his performance.
The cultural institution became operational and officially recognized in a letter written to the institution by Christine Guwatudde, the permanent secretary in ministry of Gender, labour and social affairs. Guwatudde says President Yoweri Museveni endorsed the creation of the chiefdom on May 13th 2011.
Haruna Ndema, the prime minister of the cultural institution says since their constitution was approved by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional affairs in May last year, they have been able to come up with a strategy to bring together all the Lugbara within Uganda, Congo and other parts of the World.
He says under their strategic plan they have lined up activities to promote the culture of Lugbara that has since been abandoned. Some of the areas to focus on include speaking the local language, ways of dressing decently and fighting laziness amongst the youth because traditional Lugbara don’t experience hunger in their home.
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Jason Avutia who is the Agofe of the cultural institution, says their other priority will be to reconcile the various chiefs with his people because some of them have not been accepted. He asked clans and counties who are not comfortable with their chiefs to raise the matter with the prime minister so that reconciliation process can start.
But the people who grew without seeing such an institution have expressed mixed feelings about the Agofe. Wilfred Bakole, who comes from Terego, says the institution will not function well because it is only dominated by the elders. He says if something is for all the Lugbara, women and the youth should be involved.
Alex Odipio who hails from Vurra, says the institution is good for reviving the Lugbara culture but the problem would be management since it appears like some people are already targeting it as their own property.
Though some subjects have expressed mixed reactions to the institution, the prime minister maintains that all their concerns would be taken care of because they are soon launching sensitization to educate the Lugbara.
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The Lugbara, who mainly originated from Congo and Sudan have had different cultures depending on the Counties where the person is coming from and that is why it took long for them to come together under such organization.