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Acana calls urgent meeting of Acholi chiefs as rivals head for ‘election’

The Acholi Paramount Chief, Rwot David Onen Acana II. PHOTO URN

Gulu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Paramount Chief of Acholi, David Onen Acana II, has called an urgent meeting with all chiefs within the Acholi Sub-region amidst an ongoing power struggle within the Acholi Cultural Institution.

This call comes shortly after a rival faction of chiefs announced their own council of chiefs meeting in Kitgum Municipality, intending to elect a new Paramount Chief of Acholi on June 14.

Led by interim chairperson Richard Santo Apire, the rival faction parted ways with Acana’s leadership in June last year, citing allegations of financial mismanagement, failure to draft a constitution, and attempts to sell off properties belonging to the Acholi Cultural Institution.

With the election just days away, Rwot Acana invited all chiefs from the 58 chiefdoms and their prime ministers for a meeting to discuss important issues regarding the cultural institution.

Okello Okuna, spokesperson for the Acholi Cultural Institution, confirmed that the Paramount Chief sent invitations for a council of chiefs meeting to be held on Tuesday.

Okuna explained that while the Council of Chiefs meets quarterly, this agenda will include confirming if some chiefs had indeed signed a purported constitution and if they support the upcoming election.

“The rival chiefs claim they have 40 chiefs supporting their idea of an election. Tomorrow, these chiefs will verify their signatures and clarify any discrepancies,” said Okuna.

A copy of the constitution drafted by the rival faction, seen by Uganda Radio Network, has been gazetted and submitted to the Uganda Registration Service Bureau (URSB), showing at least 39 chiefs’ signatures.

However, Okuna suggested that preliminary investigations indicate the signatures may have been forged by one person.

Okuna described the move by the rival chiefs to elect a new Paramount Chief as a failure, arguing that the majority of chiefs do not support the idea.

Justine Ociti Binyi, Chief of Pagak Clan and responsible for finance and administration in the breakaway faction, stated that an interim speaker, Canon Joseph Oneka, has been appointed to ensure transparency in the upcoming election.

On May 31, the rival chiefs, through interim chairperson Rwot Richard Santo Apire, wrote to Parliament Speaker Annet Anita Among, seeking financial assistance to fund the election of the new Paramount Chief. Apire stated that they require 72.3 million Shillings for the election budget.

The newly gazetted constitution by the breakaway faction stipulates that the tenure of a newly elected Paramount Chief of Acholi will be five years, renewable only once.

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