Soroti, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The speaker of the Iteso Cultural Union John Francis Okuma has written to the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) to allow the embattled council chairperson, Paul Sande Emolot to oversee the office of Emorimor.
Emolot and more than 100 members of ICU Council were suspended by the late Emorimor, Augustine Osuban Lemukol in June last year. The suspension of ICU Council followed recommendations of the Harmonization Committee chaired by Msgr. Robert Ecogu of Soroti Catholic Diocese, over the alleged irregularities and gross misconduct during the November 2019 polls.
The late Emorimor also dissolved the ICU electoral commission in the same letter.
But Okuma, in a letter dated February 21, 2022, to the ministry said that the ICU Constitution mandates the council chairperson to caretake the office of the Emorimor for six months as they organize for the election of the next cultural leader.
He said that as the custodian of the laws governing the Iteso Cultural Union and as per the circumstances that occurred in the last few days, the office of Emorimor should be overseen by the ICU chairperson Emolot.
“In the meantime, the chairperson of the council, Paul Sande Emolot is the caretaker of the office of HH Emorimor Papa Iteso as stipulated in the constitution and guide that all correspondences and engagements with the institution are done through his office”, the letter reads partly.
The letter adds that ICU Council headed by Emolot shall avail an updated program on the next course of action in filling the vacancy of Emorimor.
While appearing on radio, Okuma said that the suspension of ICU Council is illegal on grounds that the Emorimor didn’t have the mandate.
According to the ICU Constitution, the council is the legislative body of the institution which oversees the discipline in the office of Emorimor. The chairperson of the council deputizes Emorimor and it makes decisions in the institution.
ICU council also considers and approves audited accounts of the institution including the approval of all the appointed officials like the prime minister and cabinet.
When the office of Emorimor falls vacant, the chairperson of ICU Council is supposed to notify all delegates and invite the interested candidates for election to fill nomination forms. It is from there that an extraordinary conference of the delegates is convened for the same purpose.
But Jonathan Maraka, the ICU spokesman says there is no vacuum in the leadership because the cabinet led by the Prime Minister also known as Ekirigi, Augustine Omare- Okurut is working closely with the line ministry to see the successful succession in Iteso cultural leadership.
During the burial of the Emorimor, the Minister of State for Gender and Culture, Peace Mutuuzo promised to return to Teso with guidelines on how to go about with the election of the new leader.
Article X111, Subsection (a) of the ICU Constitution states that the election of Emorimor should be on a rotational basis from any of the four regions; Northern, Southern, Central, and the Eastern regions of Iteso communities in Uganda and Kenya.
The regions are categorized in Article 1 of the ICU Constitution as follows; the northern region comprises the districts of Soroti, Katakwi, Amuria, Kapelebyong, Kaberamaido, and Kalaki; the southern region has Kumi, Pallisa, Ngora, Butebo, Mbale, and Bukedea while the central region is made up of Tororo, Bugiri, Busia in Uganda, Namayingo, Mayuge, and Manafwa districts.
The eastern region is made up of majorly Kenyan districts; Mt. Elgon, Chaptais, Teso North, Teso South, Busia in Kenya, Nambale, and Matayos.