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Police Block Planned Election of 'New' Acholi Paramount Chief :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Police Block Planned Election of 'New' Acholi Paramount Chief

Katungwezi Anatoli, the Aswa East River Regional Police Commander however told Uganda Radio Network on Thursday that they have stopped the planned election activities on grounds that the rival chiefs failed to follow the right procedures.
Richard Santo Apire, the Interim Chairperson of the breakaway faction of chiefs speaks to the media recently in Gulu City.
The Police in the East Acholi policing area have stopped a planned election of a new Paramount Chief of Acholi organized by a breakaway faction of chiefs.

The purported election slated for Friday, June 14 in Kitgum Municipality was announced last week by a section of chiefs opposed to the leadership of David Onen Acana II, the Paramount Chief of Acholi.

The chiefs led by their interim Chairperson Richard Santo Apire in a statement said they intend to hold a council of chiefs meeting on Friday to elect a new Paramount Chief, his deputies, and a speaker.

Katungwezi Anatoli, the Aswa East River Regional Police Commander however told Uganda Radio Network on Thursday that they have stopped the planned election activities on grounds that the rival chiefs failed to follow the right procedures.

Anatoli notes that after holding a wider consultation, they realized the rival faction hadn’t gotten any clearance from the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Urban Development to conduct the election of a new traditional leader of Acholi.

He adds that they also got a briefing from the Paramount Chief of Acholi David Onen Acana II through his Prime Minister who clarified that the rival chiefs had no mandate to call for a council of chiefs meeting to hold any election.

“Through our consultation, we realized the meeting is likely to cause conflict and violence. We advised them (rival chiefs) to cancel it and postpone it to the time that they will follow the procedure and be cleared under the guidance of the line Ministry,” says Anatoli.

Anatoli cautioned the rival faction of chiefs against making any attempt to proceed with the planned election until they iron out their differences and follow the right processes in line with the cultural institution.

Robert Adongakulu, the Spokesperson of the breakaway faction of chiefs however said the interim committee has met all the requirements for holding the election including formally notifying the police, and the Ministry of Gender.

According to Adongakulu, the police have no right to intervene in an internal matter of the cultural institution adding that they will go ahead with the meeting and election.

“We know its politics at play with the Police because the Gender Ministry hasn’t objected to the council of chiefs meeting and election,” said Adongakulu.

Joshua Kyalimpa, the Communication and Public Relations officer at the Gender Ministry didnt confirm reciept of notification about the election activities but noted that the Ministry doesn’t meddle with the internal election of any cultural institution.

“The issue of the election of a cultural leader is an internal matter to the institution and the Ministry doesn’t get involved at all although we take a keen interest in what is going on,” said Kyalimpa.

He however said once an election is conducted, the Ministry is duly notified adding that after the notification, the Ministry goes ahead to gazette the elected leader and later accord him the recognition.

While addressing the press in Gulu City on Tuesday, the Acholi Paramount Chief David Onen Acana II described the planned election as illegal and accused the rival chiefs of impersonating the leadership of the Acholi cultural Institution to call for a council of chiefs meeting. 

At least 47 chiefs out of the 58 chiefs within the Acholi Sub-region during an emergency council of chiefs meeting held on Tuesday in Gulu City resolved not to take part in the purported election of a new cultural head of the Acholi.

The rival chiefs totaling about 11 broke away from the leadership of Rwot Acana in June last year and have since formed an interim leadership committee parallel to the Acholi Cultural Institution.