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Jopadhola emboldened by Luo elders’ visit, says Adhola king

A Siaya elder hands a message from Kenya to Kwar Adhola at the 20th coronation anniversary in Tororo in August. The Luo Council of Elders has just concluded a first official visit to Uganda.  FILE PHOTO

Tororo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Jopadhola have been emboldened by this week’s visit to Uganda by the Luo Council of Elders from Kenya, and will reunite and work together from now on, Kwar Adhola Moses Stephen Owor has promised.

Giving final remarks as the historic visit by the Luo elders concluded at his palace on November 7, 2019, the cultural leader of the Jopadhola said the meeting marked the start of cultural, economic and political relationships between the descendants of Owiny, who now live in Western Kenya, and Adhola’s descendants, who now live in Tororo.

“The return of our brother to trace where he left his brother, is not an act of apology, rather it is a remembrance and proof that when we make a decision for the good of our people, it is a decision made in good faith,” he told the delegation of 12, led by Chairman of the Luo Council of Elders Ker Willis Opiyo Otondi.

There was a brief cultural ceremony to mark the reunion of long lost brothers and a communique reiterating the blood relationship between the Jopadhola of eastern Uganda, and the Luo of western Kenya.

This first official meeting comes nearly 500 years after the descendants of Adhola and Owiny separated in present day Tororo in Uganda.

According to Prof. P.G. Okoth and Dr. Yokana Ogolla, the Jopadhola were part of migrant groups of Luo people who moved from Bar-El-Ghazel in South Sudan and eventually pressed their way southwards through Teso and Kaberamaido till they reached Budama in present Tororo district, around 1500.

Adhola moved with his brother Owiny, who led a group through Tororo, to western Kenya. They are the present day Luo. The group that remained in Tororo under Adhola later constituted the present Jopadhola ethnic group.

The three-day visit and meeting between Ker Luo from Kenya and Kwar Adhola of Uganda, also marked the beginning of the formation of a Forum of Luo Kings in the world – according to a joint communique  – and coincided with an announcement that a first Kacokke Madit for Luo worldwide will be held in Kisumu soon.

Members of the Luo Elders Forum and Tieng Adhola Cultural Institution (TACI) visited the site of the future palace of the Kwar Adhola on Wednesday. COURTESY PHOTO

Emboldened for Tororo challenges

The Jopadhola, who are are majority in present day Tororo and West Budama, have had a long standing dispute over a campaign by residents of Tororo County to curve out a district of their own, that includes Tororo town.

There has been a long dispute, with residents of Tororo County demanding for a district. Other residents in Tororo, the majority of who are the Jopadhola, have not objected to their demand, but have rejected their claim to Tororo town as well.

The matter is before Uganda’s parliament and President Yoweri Museveni.

Earlier this year, parliament even sent a team to London to look at colonial era documents and maps of Tororo. West Budama county, and Tororo county (formerly called East Budama), were part of a greater Bukedi that included Pallisa, Budaka- Bugwere, Bunyole and Samia- Bugwe.

In apparent reference to the dispute, leader of the Jopadhola, Kwar Adhola Moses Stephen Owor said the visit by the Luo elders has emboldened his people.

“Padhola must be feeling renewed. Jopadhola can now pick courage to stand on their two feet, and say this is the land which our forefather found for us,” Kwar Adhola said.

“Culture says Adhola founded this place. I will not shake, I will stand firm. My Brother, the spear you have given me I will not use to demand an extra mile, or anything beyond Padhola, but will use it to defend the boundary of Budama.”

The matter came up in parliament early in the week, but President Museveni advised that the matter not be debated as it will inflame the people in the district, and that he will handle it personally.

West Budama South MP Jacob Oboth Oboth was critical of the proposed debate, saying it was not focussing on the real issues at stake in Tororo.

“The order paper is here and item Number 3(b) is about Tororo! The author of the order paper should know that there is no boundary dispute in Tororo,” he charged.

“What took us to London archives was not about boundaries but the historicity of ethnic settlements in Tororo. The boundary dispute is between who and who? East Budama and  West Budama, Jopadhola and  Iteso?? Both sides are mixed,” he wrote a day before the debate was called off by President Museveni.

The fiery legislator concluded by saying, “Tororo is for the Jopadhola, our heritage, our Jerusalem.”

Kacokke Madit

The Chairman of the Luo Council of Elders Ker Otondi arrived in Uganda on Tuesday, and left Thursday after being hosted by the leader of the Jopadhola, Kwar Adhola Owor. (click to see arrival video)


Before Ker Otondi left, he performed a brief ceremony recognising Kwar Adhola as a descendant of Adhola and Owiny.

He gave the symbolic royal stool to the Adhola king and said, sit on it. He then said, “Owiny has come to see his brother, Adhola, whom he left in Uganda.”  (click to see video)

“I apologise to all the Sons and Daughters of Luo who have long waited for the Unity meeting of the Luo (Kacokke Madit) of the Luo world wide. I believe that this unity is not only for now but for the future generation. I also believe that it’s not in our power but God’s plan for the Luo People,” said Otondi.

“I therefore wish to announce to all our Luo sons and daughters globally that the Kacokke Madit and Cultural Events will be held soon.”

A Luo elder (descendant of Owiny) demostrates use of regalia (shield-and-spear) to Kwar Adhola, cultural leader of the Jopadhola and descendant of Adhola, in the first such official meeting in 500 years in Tororo recently.

Ugandan visit

The Luo Council of Elders were led by Ker Luo Kenya Otondi  and his wife  Lilian Akoth Opiyo. The group of 12 also had Raphael Ndai (Elder), James Ayaga (Elder), Camiluse Okello Luballo  (Elder), Joab Ochino (Elder), Charles Ogada ( Minister for culture ,County Government of Siaya), Elizabeth Anyango Oduor ( Chief officer Tourism and culture), Kennedy Oreyo (Assistant Director) Nashon omondi (Tourism officer), George Omondi  and Sam Onyango.

“The Luo are here with the main objective of retracing their roots with the aim of uniting the Luo world wide,” said Otondi.

Led by the TACI Jago (Prime Minister) Josel Richard Obbo, the team from Kenya visited many historical, tourist, cultural and religious sites in Padhola, including in areas of Kisoko, Nagongera and Achilet. They also visited the site where TACI are building a new palace for the Kwar Adhola in Nyangole.

The visit, the first of its kind, has made the ongoing Jopadhola celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the crowning of Kwar Adhola, memorable.



One comment

  1. Home is home, thanks to our Kwar Adhola and may God bless him more and more

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