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Inzu Ya Masaba elects John Wagabyalire as new cultural leader

Wagabyalire (R) the Umukuka elect and the Incumbent Umukua Bob Mushikori. Courtesy photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Inzu Ya Masaba has elected John Amram Wagabyalire as the new cultural leader to replace the outgoing Umukuka II Bob Mushikori, whose term of office expired last month.

Wagabyalire, a teacher by profession from the Halasi Clan was elected on Friday afternoon at the institution’s head quarters at Malukhu in Mbale city as the Umukuka III by clan delegates who make up the Inzu Ya Masaba.

On the ballot paper, Wagabyalire garnered 35 votes out of the 38 votes cast defeating Gidaguyi Gregory who got 2 votes, Patrick Mazina Wamakuyu who scored 1 vote, Jude Mike Mudoma and Stephen Kizubo who didn’t get any vote.

The election of the new leader comes shortly after a parallel faction in the same institution reportedly elected Jude Mike Mudoma as the cultural leader to replace the outgoing Bob Mushikori. Mudoma was elected in October by a faction led by the embattled speaker of Inzu Ya Masaba, Nelson Wedaira.

However, the legitimate leadership of the institution has since refused to recoginise Mudoma as the new leader of the Bamasaba saying that the routes through which he was voted were illegal and that they did not constitute the quorum and that the general assembly was not officially opened by the current Umukuka as per the constitution.

On 10th.11.2020, High Court in Mbale ruled that a letter dated 27th May 2020 by the Minister of State for Gender and Cultural Affairs Peace Mutuuzo did not reinstate Nelson Wedaira as the Speaker, Dr. Christopher Bunoti as the chairperson Cultural Council, Rev James Kangala as the General Secretary and Dr. Stephen Mungoma as the Chairperson of the Governing council after they were suspended in Kenya in 2018.

A committee was constituted to search for the new leader and the names of those interested were presented to the cultural council on Wednesday including the name of the purported elected leader Jude Mike Mudoma.

During the election, only three candidates out of the five were present. Those absent were Gregory Gidaguyi and Mike Jude Mudoma.

Sister Rose Nelima, the Speaker of the Inzu Ya Masaba while opening the delegates meeting noted that the court order gave them leeway to hold legitimate elections for the new leader.

Nelima appealed to the Umukua elect to practice consultative leadership and always seek advice from his predecessors.

Bob Mushikori, the incumbent Umukuka noted that he is happy to be retiring and officially handing over power to the leader who has been voted by the people.

He said that he will now go back to President Museveni to appoint him somewhere else to serve, adding that as he retires, he will be going to Canada from where he came before becoming the leader of the Bamasaba.

John Amram Wagabyalire, the Umukua elect expressed joy for being elected the new Umukuka and pledged to work with everyone including the purported elected leader.

According to him, his first task as he assumes power will be to unite all the Bamasaba and also pledged to work with the government in power to foster development in the institution.

Johnson Woniaye, a resident of Nkoma wants the new leader who has been elected to begin with bringing on board all the disgruntled parties to work together to bring the development the Bamasaba require.

Wagabyalire now waits for the official coronation on the 30th, January 2021 when he is expected to officially start his work as the Umukua III.

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