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 said.
Giving final remarks as the historic visit by the Luo elders concluded in Tororo on Thursday, the leader of the Jopadhola said the meeting marked the start of cordial cultural, economic and political relationships between the descendant of Owiny and Adhola.
“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,” to 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 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 next week.
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, which other residents have not objected to, 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 Yoweri 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. The boundary dispute is between who and who? East Budama and West Budama, 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.”
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 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)
On day two of his visit, Ker Willis Opiyo Otondi had also announced that a long waited unity meeting of the Luo worldwide (Kacokke Madit) will be held in Kisumu soon.
“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 has been rescheduled and confirmed to take place from the 15th , 16th, and 17th November , 2019 at Tom Mboya Labour College, Kisumu, Kenya.”
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, will make the the ongoing Jopadhola celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the crowning of Kwar Adhola memorable.
— The Independent (@UGIndependent) August 10, 2019