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Karamoja Elders Demand Dialogue with their Cultural Institution :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Karamoja Elders Demand Dialogue with their Cultural Institution

Simon Nangiro, the Chairperson of the Karamoja Elders Association, emphasized that there is already a cultural system that should be strengthened to bring together all the different cultures in the region. He pointed out that having another parallel Elders' forum may lead to confusion.
On the Right is Paul Abul, the secretary Karamoja Elders Association

Audio 6

Elders in Karamoja, under the umbrella of the Karamoja Elders Association, have called for dialogues with the group responsible for forming the cultural institution. In October 2023, each district in the region sent two elderly representatives to a cultural meeting in Moroto. During this gathering, 81-year-old Peter Adei from Abim district was named the interim Cultural Leader, known as Paapa Angasuban.

The attendees also selected the cow as the symbol of the cultural institution to signify unity. Subsequently, a cabinet was formed, with ministers assigned to oversee various aspects of governance and administrative functions. However, there is controversy surrounding the cultural institution, with some Elders rejecting the appointment of the cultural leader, insisting on the need for more time for consultations.   

They revealed that the idea of forming a unifying body had been suggested earlier, and the consultation process was underway before being taken over by a section of Elders who formed their own cultural institution. The Elders in their Association are now demanding dialogues with the team responsible for the cultural institution to address their concerns. 

Simon Nangiro, the Chairperson of the Karamoja Elders Association, emphasized that there is already a cultural system that should be strengthened to bring together all the different cultures in the region. He pointed out that having another parallel Elders' forum may lead to confusion. 

Nangiro explained that they were using Karamoja cultural events to develop better means of formulating the idea of a cultural institution, but it was hijacked before the process was completed. He urged the team behind the formation of the institution to consider joining them to build a strong body that can unify all Karimojong people. 

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Alex Lemu, an elder in Moroto, mentioned that they had assigned educated youth to prepare a document in anticipation of the formation of the cultural institution. They had planned to discuss the findings at next year's cultural event scheduled for September in Karenga district. Lemu noted that the hurried installation of the cultural leader has left people confused and unsure of what is happening in their own region. 

Joseph Otita, another elder, stated that Karimojong people deserve a king, but it requires sufficient time to bring together all the different clusters and educate them on the value of unity. He observed that the two elders from each district who participated in the election of the cultural leader did not express the views of the people. Otita emphasized the need to reconcile the differences among the clusters in Karamoja before considering the formation of a unifying body. 

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Michael Lotee, an elder from the Tepeth cluster living on Mount Moroto, expressed the need to meet with the team that initiated the cultural leader because there is a growing conflict between the Matheniko people and the Tepeth. He emphasized the importance of clarifying how the idea was conceived to identify gaps and prevent division and internal conflicts among communities. Lotee also questioned why the activity was conducted inside a hotel instead of a traditional shrine where everyone could observe. 

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Mark Aol Musoka, a member of the Karamoja Elders Association, raised concerns about the cultural leader's installation, which was carried out without the knowledge of the executive committee. Musoka believed that the intention of the cultural institution was meant to hinder the ongoing process of selecting a leader acceptable to everyone. He offered the team room for peace talks to work out a way forward without causing division. 

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Meanwhile, Simon Peter Aleper, the vice chairperson of the NRM for Karamoja region and a member of the Karamoja Professionals Forum, encouraged the leadership of the cultural institution to meet with the Elders Association and harmonize their ideas. Aleper believed that the two Elder bodies should come together to form a strong institution to promote peace and development in the region. 

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