Acholi Leaders Plot Annual Luo Heritage Festival

3103 Views Gulu, Uganda

In short
Gulu district chairperson Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, who is the chairperson of the forum, says a meeting will be held in Gulu on September 29th to further discuss the proposal. He says the event will be used to showcase the heritage potential for tourism attraction to the outside world.

The Joint Acholi District Leaders Forum is fronting a proposal for an annual festival to celebrate the Lwo cultural heritage.

Gulu district chairperson Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, who is the chairperson of the forum, says a meeting will be held in Gulu on September 29th to further discuss the proposal. He says the event will be used to showcase the heritage potential for tourism attraction to the outside world. 

He says in partnership with Acholi cultural institution - Ker Kwaro Acholi - several competitions will be organised in the various dances and performances, dressings and cuisines. 

//Cue in "We intend to have....
Cue out "....food and all that"//

The Acholi district leaders Forum brings together chairpersons of the eight Acholi districts of Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya, Omoro, Pader, Kitgum, Agago and Lamwo. It was formed in 2011 to identify and politically address pressing social and political issues affecting Northern Uganda.

According to Mapenduzi, the event will bring together Luo ethnic decent from East and West Acholi, South Sudan and the rest of East Africa. The opportunity will also help the ethnic group chat out solutions for some of its most pressing social and economic issues.

Emmanuel Ochora Lagem, the deputy prime minister and spokesperson of Acholi Cultural Institution welcomed the proposal saying the institution sees that as a great opportunity to revive the heritage.

Ochora says the cultural institution is mandated by the Constitution and the Regulation of Cultural Institutions Act 2011 to promote unity, cultural heritage and reconciliation among the Lwo people and will utilise any available opportunity to achieve that goal. 

He says they will embrace the annual event to complement ongoing grass root efforts to educate the young generation about the Acholi heritage.  Such initiatives he says include organised meetings of elders around bonfire in various villages.

Currently, the Acholi people of northern Uganda never get together to celebrate the coronation anniversary of the paramount chief, Rwot David Onen Achana II. Rwot Achana was chosen by the 54 clan chiefs during council of chiefs meeting to be at the apex of the highly decentralised traditional leadership.

He will reign supreme until death when the council of chiefs will again chose another paramount chief from among them. The chiefs cite logistical challenges for not organising annual coronation rituals.  

 

About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.