Lawyer in Spotlight For Swearing-in Parallel Lango Chief

3039 Views Lira, Uganda

In short
A Kampala based advocate has come under fire for allegedly presiding over the swearing-in of Engineer Moses Michael Odongo Okune as parallel paramount chief of Lango. Veteran politician Cecilia Atim Ogwal, the Dokolo Woman MP wants Tumwesigyes practicing license withdrawn. She argues that as a long serving advocate and a commissioner of oaths, Tumwesigye should have internalised and understood the manner in which Odongo was elected in that office before presiding over his swearing-in ceremony.

A Kampala based advocate is in spotlight for allegedly presiding over the swearing-in of Engineer Moses Michael Odongo Okune as parallel paramount chief of Lango.
 
Odongo, 54, the Executive Director of Uganda Road Fund took oath of office as new Paramount Chief for Lango in a ceremony that took place at his home in senior quarters, Lira municipality, on Friday last week.
 
The event presided over by Louis Tumwesigye of Louis Tumwesigye Advocate & Commissioner for Oaths, attracted a pocket of clan chiefs that forms the council of Owitong, the supreme body responsible for the election of the Paramount Chief in Lango.
 
The ceremony has, however, attracted condemnation from Members of Parliament from Lango sub-region most of whom accused Tumwesigye of presiding over the swearing-in of a person they said was illegally elected to that office.
 
Veteran politician Cecilia Atim Ogwal, the Dokolo Woman MP wants Tumwesigye's practicing license withdrawn. She argues that as a long serving advocate and a commissioner of oaths, Tumwesigye should have internalised and understood the manner in which Odongo was elected in that office before presiding over his swearing-in ceremony.
 
Ogwal wants government to sanction Tumwesigye for lack of professionalism, misconduct and abuse of office.
 
Charles Okello Engola Mac-odwogi, the state Minister for Defence and Veteran Affairs, also says the matter surrounding the election and swearing-in of Odongo is turning out to be a security concern. Engola, who is also Oyam North Member of Parliament, said they will not allow Odongo to force out of office, Mzee Yosam Odur Ebii, who he says is considered the legitimate paramount chief.
 
Felix Okot Ogong, the chairman Lango Parliamentary Group says he will convene an emergency meeting of legislators from Lango next week to discuss and find a peaceful solution to the feud.
 
Moses Andrew Awany, the Alebtong Resident District Commissioner says many civil and political leaders are dismayed by what he described as power greed exhibited by Engineer Odongo and his group.
 
Micheal Adoko a resident of Ayago in Railways Division, Lira Municipality, however, wonders why the Members of Parliament are coming at this time to try to resolve issues surrounding Lango Cultural Foundation. He said the legislators ignored the matter until when it was too late.
 
Luo Bite:
 
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Cue out: ...ni okelo."//
 
Adoko, however, blames the feud in Lango on the Council of Owitong which is responsible for the election of the paramount chief. He accuses some clan chiefs who are members of the council of playing double standards, corruption and accepting to be compromised by Odongo.
 
Luo Bite:
 
//Cue in: "Jo ame dong...
Cue out: ..tye kede peko."//
 
Adoko says the manner and speed at which Odongo wants to take over the leadership of Lango Cultural Institution as a paramount chief has left many of his would-be subjects worried. He says many people think Odongo is being used by some people influential in the government to be in that office for political benefit.
 
Luo Bite:
 
//Cue in: "Ento yuba mereā€¦
Cue out: ...itam iryo."//
 
James Ocom from Akalo in Kole district says the swearing in of Odongo should be considered illegal. He wonders why he would choose to hold at his home such a function which should have been public and open to everyone. He says Odongo himself knew what he was doing was wrong, the reason he chose to hold the ceremony in hiding.
 
Luo Bite:
 
//Cue in: "Kwongere ame...
Cue out: ...iyore apol apapat."//
 
Dr. Richard Nam, the Prime Minister of Lango Cultural Foundation, describes the swearing in ceremony of Odongo as drama. Dr. Nam says the incumbent paramount chief Yosam Odur is not ready to hand over power to anybody until his death as stipulated in the 2003 foundation's constitution.
 
However, Willy Omodo Omodo, the spokesperson for Odongo's camp maintained that he will take the office from Mzee Yosam Odur Ebii on June 19th during the handover ceremony that will be held at Lango Cultural Centre in Lira.
 
Tumwesigye is yet to comment on the matter.
 
The election of Odongo, the clan head of Okaromwono clan on February 20th 2017 has since been disputed by a cross section of the Langi who argued it was illegal.
 
The matter concerning the legality of the operationalisation of Lango Cultural Foundation is being challenged after the Paramount Chief, Wonyaci Yosam Odur Ebii, was dragged to court for allegedly holding this office illegally.
 
Krispus Ayena Odongo, the lawyer representing former Lord Resistance Army rebel commander Dominic Ongwen at the International Criminal Court, sued the Wonyaci jointly with the Attorney General.
 
In his suit filed at the Constitutional Court, Ayena says Odur does not derive allegiance by the fact of his birth or descent in accordance with the customs, traditions, usage or consent of the people of Lango as stipulated in Article 246 (6) of the constitution of Uganda and the Institution of Traditional or Cultural Leaders Act, 2011.
 
Ayena argues that the constitution does not envisage the installation of a traditional or cultural leader in republican areas of Uganda, including Lango where there is no hereditary rulers and accordingly wants court to grant an order of redress declaring that the incumbent paramount chief is illegally acting as the cultural leader of Lango.
 
The concerned parties are yet to respond to the suit. 

 

About the author

Denis Olaka
Denis Olaka is the URN bureau chief for Lira, in northern Uganda. Apac and Otuke fall under his docket. Olaka has been a URN staff member since 2011.

Olaka started his journalism career in 2000 as a news reporter, anchor, and then editor for Radio Lira in Lira district. He was subsequently an editor with Lira's Radio Wa in 2004 and Gulu district's Mega FM.

He was also a freelance writer for the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers.

Olaka's journalism focuses on politics, health, agriculture and education. He does a lot of crime reporting too.