By Reuben Olita
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) will build a cultural Centre and a palace in honour of the late Iteso cultural leader Augustine Lemukol Osuban.
In a speech read on his behalf by National Resistance Movement (NRM) Vice Chairman for Eastern Region, Captain Mike Mukula in Serere, Uganda today, Raila said he and the party will endeavour to fulfil the promise.
” I had a commitment with Papa Emorimor at some stage, myself and our party ODM, which has very strong support among the Iteso community, we will help set up a cultural centre and a palace for the community. We will do everything in our ability to make this happen, in honour of Papa,” Raila said.
He added: ” As a party, and as a leader, we look forward to working very closely with the people of Uganda to strengthen our two countries and our people. That is what Papa stood and wished.”
The Prime Minister (2008-2013) said “in Kenya Papa has left us with the Iteso Cultural Centre at the Bomas of Kenya as a permanent mark of our oneness as a people and his efforts to bring our region together. It’s a Centre we shall always cherish and keep going.”
In his eulogy, Raila said the region and our people have lost a stalwart of culture who proved in word and deed that the divisions between our people and our nations, are indeed artificial.
” The Iteso community has an overwhelming presence in this region, extending from Ethiopia, through Sudan to various parts of Uganda, all the way to Kenya.Despite arbitrary drawn colonial boundaries that put this community in at least four nations, the Iteso knew they are one. They recognized them as his people wherever they find themselves.
He went on: ” I knew Papa as a highly respected cultural leader, who believed firmly that East Africans, and, indeed, Africans are one people , wherever they find themselves. That formed the basis of my close working relationship and friendship with him. That is why as a family and as ODM party, we celebrate his life and recognize his stewardship of the Iteso community and our region for 22 years.”
The Rt Hon Raila appreciated the decision by Ugandan President to declare a state funeral in honour of Papa ” as we join the Teso people and the country in mourning the death of the cultural leader. He worked for this honour and I am glad that his country took note.”
He added:” With a master’s degree and sound training in Agriculture that saw him rise to the position of Commissioner of Agriculture in the republic of Uganda, Papa refused to abandon the Iteso culture. Instead, he saw his education and experience as the more reason to cling firmly to the traditions of his people and to champion the oneness of East Africa and Africa.”