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Iteso cultural leader laid to rest

Emorimor Augustine Osuban

Serere, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Iteso Paramount Chief, Emorimor Augustine Osuban Lemukol was on Saturday laid to rest at his ancestral home in Abilayep, Serere district.

Osuban who died on February 5, at Mulago National Referral Hospital has been at the helm of Iteso cultural leadership since April 2000, when he was installed as the first legitimate Emorimor.

He was lauded for promoting peace, unity, and reconciliation of the Iteso communities in Uganda, Kenya, and other areas inhabited by the Iteso.

More than 20,000 people thronged Abilayep village in Serere to pay their last respect to Osuban. Among the mourners were government officials, soldiers, and politicians from Uganda, Kenya, and South Sudan.

Osuban’s burial was also attended by at least ten representatives of cultural institutions in Uganda. They included Buganda, the Busoga Cultural Institution, Bunyoro Kingdom, Tieng Adhola, Kigezi, Obwen’Engo Bwa Bugwe, Karamoja Cultural Elders, Bugwere, Sabiny Cultural Elders, Tooro Kingdom, and the Bamasaba among others.

Unlike his siblings buried inside the compound, Osuban was buried outside the fence to allow Iteso Cultural Union and government to develop his burial sit.

During the planning meetings for his burial, several people proposed to have his remains buried in Soroti city which is a central place for all the Iteso communities. But the family and clan members of Osuban objected to the proposal, owing to the fact that Osuban had indicated in his will that he should be buried at his home.

The family also insisted that Osuban should be buried according to the family traditions.

Simon Okurut, the Iteso Cultural Union chairperson in Serere says that the deceased should have been buried while seated on the chair or standing but holding a spear and stick as symbols of leadership. He explains that two pots containing local brew in Teso (Ajon) and honey would be placed on the sides of the grave.

Okurut added that Iteso culture dictates that the deceased’s body should have faced the north, the origin of the Iteso people from Abyssinia, Ethiopia.

Walter Elakas, one of the men initiated into Iteso culture (Asapan) says that there are burial ceremonies to be followed when burying a person like Osuban, but were not observed due to family traditions.

“We were supposed to slaughter a bull around the grave; have a group of initiated men go round the grave before Osuban’s body would be laid to rest. We were also supposed to blow a trumpet of sorrow to mourn him and perform other rituals but this couldn’t be followed because of the family stand”, he said.



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