Six Lango Cultural Foundation Officials Arrested

4739 Views Lira, Uganda

In short
The arrested include Vincent I. Oling, the chairman of the cultural foundations Electoral Commission, his deputy Joan Pacuto and Tom Odur Anang, a member of the commission. Others are Martin Odongo, Hamza Okello and Lucy Awino.

Police in Lira are holding six officials of Lango Cultural Foundation for allegedly holding an illegal assembly contrary to the Public Order Management Act.

The arrested include Vincent I. Oling, the chairman of the cultural foundations' Electoral Commission, his deputy Joan Pacuto and Tom Odur Anang, a member of the commission. Others are Martin Odongo, Hamza Okello and Lucy Awino.

The officials were arrested from Ireda parish in Lira Municipality and whisked away in a waiting police van to Lira central police station. They are accused of conducting an election of the council which would elect the new paramount chief of Lango Cultural Foundation.

North Kyoga Police spokesperson David Ongom Mudong said the group had been advised, in a closed door emergency meeting last night, to suspend the election until all warring parties in Lango Cultural Foundation had resolved their differences. 

The meeting resolved among other key things to stop the election until the commission put into writing reasons why they though that the poll was necessary. It was also resolved that the commission seeks the opinion of the incumbent paramount Chief, Yosam Odur Ebii if he's okay with the planned election.

However, they disregarded the agreement. Uganda Radio Network has learnt that the election was held overnight in one of the hotels in town. Today, police seized several documents including the result declaration forms and a list of members of the Electoral College who participated in the elections, among others.

A source intimated to Uganda Radio Network that Eng. Michael Odongo Okune, the Uganda Road Fund Executive Director was elected to replace new Paramount Chief, Yosam Odur Ebii in the exercise police has ruled out arguing it is illegal.

Lango cultural foundation has been involved in serious leadership wrangles. The rival group has always protested decisions by Yosam Odur and accused him of dragging the central government in the cultural affairs of Lango.  They also accused him of using heavily armed police personnel, failing to implement resolutions by clan heads' council, and operating without a constitution. Odur has been heading the cultural institution since 2003.

But Tonny Otoa, the Abwori clan chief who also opposed Yosam Odur reign says no election was held after a security meeting on Thursday.

 

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.