Tororo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | President Yoweri Museveni has hailed the leader of the Jopadhola, Kwar Adhola Moses Stephen Owor, and the Tieng Adhola Cultural Institution (TACI) for partnering with government in its efforts to spread development in Tororo.
“I commend your good leadership and partnership with government in ensuring that the people support government programmes for peace and development. I am gratified to note that since the restoration of this cultural institution 20 years ago, the NRM government has enjoyed cordial and a health relationship with your kingdom,” President Museveni said as the Jopadhola celebrated the 20th anniversary of the crowning of Kwar Adhola on Wednesday in Achilet, Tororo.
“We thank God for blessing His Royal Highness the king and his family with good health and wisdom. We also thank God for the peace, freedom, security and general tranquility prevailing in the country that allows such important celebrations to take place,” said Museveni, in a speech read for him by Ali Kirunda Kivejinja, the Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of East African Community Affairs.
Museveni stressed that the restoration of the monarchies by the NRM government was “one of the biggest achievements of our time and a sign of good governance.”
“With the revival of our cultural roots, Uganda is proud of her heritage. Our kingdoms are much older than the political unit – Uganda; their role in the history of Uganda is, therefore, of great importance,” Museveni concluded.
Kivejinja, who delivered the President’s speech, said that the celebrations are a sign of unity in Padhola, and gives the Jopadhola a chance to remind everyone of their heritage, with the view to preserve and promote culture and to teach, especially the young generation.
He urged traditional leaders to continue to help in ensuring that local languages and cultures are preserved, saying vernaculars are rich and unique. The veteran politician said the young generation must be taught to speak in their local languages for posterity purposes.
‘We are partners in development, and not rivals’
Kwar Adhola, 93, had earlier welcomed delegations from several kingdoms including Buganda, Busoga, Bunyoro, Masaba, Bugwere, and from Kenya, represented by the Luo elders council plus a group of governors and their deputies from Siaya and Kisumu in Kenya.
“Before the inception of Tieng Adhola, the people of Padhola were breeding and feeding on divisionism, mutual mistrust, suspicion and lack of confidence and patriotism for Padhola and their country, Uganda,” Kwar Adhola said in his speech to the tens of thousands that gathered for the celebrations.
“The people of Padhola are therefore, committed to co-exist peacefully with other ethnicities and to reciprocate every gesture of respect and fraternity.”
He however challenged the Jopadhola to end land fragmentation, which he says has made it difficult for large scale commercial agriculture to be undertaken in Padhola.
“The culture of dividing land into small plots to the children of the deceased has led to serious fragmentation of Land, which now on average stands at less than an acre per household. This makes it difficult for large scale commercial agriculture to be undertaken in Padhola,” he said.
Kwar Adhola stressed unity, as key to bringing development in Padhola and thanked President Museveni and the NRM for support over the last 20 years.
“I wish to express my sincere gratitude first and foremost to the NRM Government, under the wise leadership of His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni for restoring the active functioning of cultural institutions in Uganda.”
“That we have celebrated today is the transformation of Tiegn Adhola from simple beginnings to the final installation of His Royal Highness the Kwar Adhola in 1999, the result of which is the 20th anniversary we are celebrating today.”
“It removed the people of Padhola from oblivion and placed them conspicuously on the map of Uganda, Africa and the world at Large as a people with Solidarity, determination, common destiny and vision.”
“Tieng Adhola is also committed to work hand in hand with government in a symbiotic relationship with the view of achieving positive transformation and development in Uganda. We are, therefore, partners in development and not rivals,” he stressed.
Politicians show support
Several current and former Members of Parliament of Tororo led by Jacob Oboth Oboth, West Budama South MP and Chairperson Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, re-affirmed their commitment to working with Kwar Adhola to develop Padhola.
Others who attended were State Minister for Health Sarah Opendi and Tororo County MP Apollo Ofwono Yeri. Former MPs were Tezira Jamwa, Othieno Akika and Grace Oburu.
A message was read from the Secretary General of the NRM Justine Lumumba Kasule hailing the Jopadhola cultural institution for promoting culture and working for development, as were messages from Kwar Adhola’s representatives in Entebbe, Buganda, Kenya, Acholi and Lango. (MORE ON PAGE 2)