By Reuben Olita
Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong has sent a passionate plea to the Iteso Cultural Union leadership to consider experience in electing the successor to the fallen Cultural leader Emorimor Augustine Lemukol Osuban who was laid to rest on Saturday at Serere in Eastern Uganda.
Addressing the press at the weekend, the Governor said the seat of Emorimor is a unifying factor to about 7 million Iteso community living in Uganda, Teso Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Southern Sudan and Turkana among other regions.
” ICU should use wisdom in electing Papa Emorimor’s successor, and the criteria should not necessarily be based on regions but the person’s experience to steer the community to greater heights.
The succesor to the iconic Iteso King has elicited mixed reactions with members of the Iteso community proposing the next Emorimor to come from regions that have not produced a cultural leader since its inception in 1993 as per the Union’s constitution.
Art 13 ( a) of the Iteso Cultural Union Constitution (ICU) states that the election of His Highness Emorimor Papa Iteso shall be by delegates in the Conference of the Union on rotational basis from any of the four regions taking into consideration already represented region(s).
The regions that make up ICU include:
Northern: Amuria, Kaberamaido, Kapelebyong, Katakwi and Soroti. Central:
Bukedea, Butebo, Kumi, Mbale, Ngora, Pallisa and Serere.
Southern: Bugiri, Busia (Uganda), Manafwa, Mayuge, Namayinho and Tororo. Eastern Region (Kenya): Busia (Kenya),
Cheptais, Matayos, Mt Elgon, Nambale, Teso North and Teso South.
Mzee Papyrus Imodot, the founder of Iteso Cultural Union and the first Paramount Chief of Ateker People hails from Amuria in Northern Region while the late Emorimor Osuban hailed from Serere in Central region.
Imodot became the paramount chief of Iteso in 1994 in the wake of the Uganda People’s Army war; and reigned up to 2000 when he was replaced by Augustine Osuban Lemukol.
The Iteso Cultural Union Council that comprises over 50O delegates drawn from Uganda, Kenya and the Diaspora will elect the late Teso Cultural Leader, Emorimor Augustine Osuban Lemukol’s substantive successor.
Article XIII (b) of ICU constitution on the election of His Highness, The Emorimor Papa Iteso states that whenever the office of Papa Emorimor shall become vacant, the chairperson shall notify the delegates and invite interested candidates for election to fill nomination forms.
The ICU Constitution as per Article IV on the organisation structure of ICU gives the Delegates Conference the Supreme Authority of the Unon and shall elect His Highness Emorimor Papa Iteso.
The next in the organogram is the Emorimor. The Council of the Union which is next shall formulate and deal with policy matters. The Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Prime Ministers are ex-officio.
The qualification of Papa Emorimor according to Article XII entails that the candidate must be an Etesot, is of 60 years of age or older, is familiar with and committed to Iteso culture and traditions, is of sound mind, is of good repute and integrity, has a dignified traditional home, has a minimum educational qualification of ordinary level certificate and is willing to accept office if elected.
Uganda Vice President, H.E Jessica Alupo and Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Betty Among’i urged the cultural institution to take time and have consensus in picking the next Emorimor to avoid a big split.
The substantive Emorimor upon election will assume office after 90 days from the date of the elections unless he declines to take up the position.