Over 270 Christians from Christ Disciples’ Church reportedly left their homes in Serere and Ngora districts in February under unclear circumstances for missionary work in Ethiopia. It later emerged that the then spokesman of the Iteso Cultural Union Gabriel Opolot Ononge had aided the movement of the missionaries after authoring a letter of clearance to the authorities
The Minister for Gender, Labour, and Social Development, Betty Amongi in the General Notice No. 2158 of 2022 dated December 9, 2022, to The Uganda Gazette indicated that Emolot is now the new Paramount Chief for the Iteso.
Olemukan died on December 17, 2022, at Mulago Cancer Institute after battling cancer of the liver for months while Bishop Okabe and his wife perished in a motor accident on Monday morning, December 19, 2022.
In August, the Soroti Resident Judge, Justice Henry Adonyo issued a temporary injunction restraining Paul Sande Emolot and John Francis Okuma, the former ICU Council chairperson and Speaker respectively from performing any cultural duties related to ICU.
When contacted by our reporter, Omome said that they have defied the court decision because it is biased. Omome and other members of Emolot’s leadership argue that while the court has barred them from conducting any cultural activities, the other faction led by William Alloch, the Chairperson of ICU Founder members is progressing with their cultural activities.
The interdenominational prayers that were expected to draw a cross-section of religious leaders from Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan, and other parts of the world only gathered a few members at ICU offices. This forced the prayer that was supposed to commence at 9:00 am to start past 12:00 pm.
Emolot came under the spotlight after negotiating for the alleged withdrawal of the National Unity Platform- NUP candidate Joseph Okoboi Opolot during the Gogonyo County by-election in Pallisa district early this month.
A cross-section of religious leaders drawn from Uganda and Kenya are leading the new drive which will start with an interdenominational prayer breakfast slated for August 20, 2022. This is informed by the sharp divisions that marred the succession processes of the former Emorimor, Augustine Osuban Lemukol who died in February 2022.
At the end of the exercise, only one person; the caretaker leader Paul Sande Emolot showed up to pick up the forms. He will now be awaited to return the forms between July 11 and July 12 for vetting before he is declared the substantive chief, also known as Emorimor.
Last week, the court issued interim orders following an application filed by the ICU Founder members and elders. They are William Alloch Akoll, Joseph Okadapao, Martin Alfred Aruo, Stephen Enokokin, Joyce Asekenye, Polly Apio, and Lydia Agoda.
The Soroti High Court Assistant Registrar, Jessica Chemeri issued the orders on Monday after hearing of an application filed by the founder members of ICU early last month. The applicants are William Alloch Akoll, Joseph Okadapao, Martin Alfred Aruo, Stephen Enokokin, Joyce Asekenye, Polly Apio and Lydia Agoda.
The controversy follows the suspension of ICU Council by the former Emorimor, Augustine Osuban Lemukol over the alleged irregularities and inconsistencies during the 2019 election. ICU Cabinet and the harmonization committee, also appointed by the former Emorimor, recommended for an audit into the said elections before council is constituted to spearhead the election process of replacing Osuban.
The ICU Cabinet led by Augustine Omare- Okurut was conspicuously absent during the ICU council meeting. Omare and his group insist that the ICU Council is not legitimate since the former Emorimor had suspended it before his death.
In the ICU Council 2019 election, the institution’s Electoral Commission allegedly violated the rights to vote of special interest groups like the People with Disabilities, Youth, and Women when they failed to consider them in the elections.
According to Msgr. Robert Echogu, the chairperson of the five-member harmonization committee appointed by the former Emorimor, Augustine Osuban Lemukol, they had invited selected members from the ICU Cabinet, Council and other stakeholders.
Prior to his death, the former Emorimor, Augustine Osuban Lemukol had suspended all ICU members over the alleged irregularities and inconsistencies in the November 2019 elections. The suspension of the ICU Council was recommended by the Harmonization Committee chaired by Msgr. Robert Ecogu of Soroti Catholic Diocese.
The Iteso Council Union Council, John Francis Okuma in a letter dated February 21, 2022, to the Ministry said that the ICU Constitution mandates the council chairperson to caretake the office of the Emorimor for six months as they organize for the election of the next cultural leader.