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Election of Kumam Cultural Leader Postponed

Kumam delegates convene at Kaberamaido town to electo Won Atekerin- Papa Kumam.

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The election of the Kumam cultural leader, Won Atekerin- Papa Kumam has been postponed over legal

challenges.

The elections that had been scheduled to take place today was halted when it emerged that the steering committee didn’t inform the line minister as per the constitutional requirement.

The ceremony that attracted about 1,000 participants from different districts in Teso and Lango was thrown into disarray when counsel Alfred Ewatu advised members to follow the laws of the land in order to avoid future conflicts.

He explained that whereas the committee followed almost all the requirements for the election of the cultural leader or paramount chief, there was a communication gap in mobilizing the sub county councils and writing to the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development on the matter.

“It was an oversight in the steering committee to comply with Section 4 of the Cultural Leaders Act, 2011. The law requires the institution to inform the minister of gender in writing about the election of the cultural leader beforehand," he said.

Counsel Ewatu also noted that all the 20 sub counties predominantly occupied by the Kumam were required to pass resolutions consenting to the election of a Kumam cultural leader. However, most of the sub counties didn’t present the said resolutions to the first assembly convened on Saturday.

According to the Kumam constitution, Kaberamaido was supposed to present resolutions from seven sub counties, eight from Kalaki district, four from Soroti district and one from Dokolo district. By the time of meeting on Saturday, only a handful of sub counties in Kaberamaido had presented their council resolutions.

Robert Ewangu, the Kumam chairperson in charge of constitutional affairs says that much as the advice was given on the election day, it’s worth following to avoid frustrations in the future. He revealed that the election of Won Atekerin- Papa Kumam will now be held on July 16th.

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The election of Won Atekerin- Papa Kumam will see the Kumam communities independent from Iteso Cultural Union- ICU under Emorimor, which initially covered the Kumam. The Kumam have been involved in the processes for the establishment their cultural head since 2011.

Won Atekerin- Papa Kumam will be elected by representatives of 147 clans currently registered in various parts of the country especially in Eastern and Northern Uganda.

According to Charles Ebayu Ochen, the chairperson of Kumam Cultural Heritage, the brain behind the establishment of Kumam cultural institution, their constitution has laid down a number of requirements for one to be elected Won Atekerin- Papa Kumam.

Among the requirements include possession of Certificate of Education or its equivalent, an established home with a good reputation to serve the communities. The constitution also limits the election of Won Atekerin- Papa Kumam to persons aged 60 years and above but with clean record in partisan politics.

Ochen reveals that their constitution does not allow campaigns for the elections of cultural leaders, adding that the new leader will be elected basing on his/her tested working experience with the community.

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The meeting today however elected the chairperson of the general assembly and the electoral commission members.