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Planned Election of New Acholi Paramount Chief Illegal-Acana :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Planned Election of New Acholi Paramount Chief Illegal-Acana

Speaking to journalists on Tuesday at his Palace in Gulu City, Rwot Acana says the rival chiefs had no mandate to call for a council of chiefs meeting to hold an election since all the powers are vested in the hands of the Paramount Chief, his deputy and the prime Minister.
Acholi Paramount Chief David Onen Acana II makes a statement during the council of chiefs meeting at the Acholi Cultural Institution palace in Gulu City on June 5 2024

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The Acholi Paramount Chief David Onen Acana II has broken his silence on the planned move by a section of rival chiefs to hold an election for a new traditional leader of the Acholi cultural institution describing the idea as illegal.

Last week, a section of a breakaway faction of chiefs led by Richard Santo Apire announced it would hold an election for a new Paramount Chief of Acholi on June 14 in Kitgum Municipality to replace Rwot Acana. 

At least 11 chiefs among two members of the Governing Council at Acholi Cultural Institution parted ways with Acana in June last year and have since formed a separate interim leadership committee.

Speaking to journalists on Tuesday at his Palace in Gulu City, Rwot Acana says the rival chiefs had no mandate to call for a council of chiefs meeting to hold an election since all the powers are vested in the hands of the Paramount Chief, his deputy, and the prime Minister.

Rwot Acana notes that the breakaway faction is illegally using the Acholi cultural Institution name to organize an election and lobby for financial support, yet they haven’t received support from the majority chiefs in Acholi.

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Acana also alleged the rival chiefs forged signatures of some of the cultural leaders to back up their purported new constitution which has been gazette in the Uganda Gazette and submitted to the Uganda Registration Service Bureau (URSB).  The copy of the draft constitution seen by Uganda Radio Network was submitted to URSB on March 13, 2024, and gazette in the Uganda Gazette on April 19, 2024.

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Rwot Acana says the cultural institution isn’t part of the planned election of the new traditional leader of Acholi arguing that the majority chiefs during a council meeting held Tuesday resolved not to participate in it.

A total of 41 out of the 58 chiefs from the Acholi Subregion attended the Council of chiefs meeting at the Acholi Cultural Institution palace.

His Deputy Rwot Otinga Yai Atuka II, the Chief of Lamogi Chiefdom noted that they won’t allow the planned election to go arguing it’s a disgrace to the Acholi people. Rwot Otinga also discouraged chiefs from being persuaded to attend the ‘illegal’ council of chiefs organized by the breakaway faction of chiefs arguing those who go may get punished. 

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Tension at the Acholi cultural institution broke out last year after a section of chiefs resolved to vote out the Paramount Chief from office.

The breakaway chiefs are Rwot John Peko Lugai of Pajule Chiefdom, Rwot John Ogenga Obita of Koch Amida in Kitgum District, Justine Ociti Binyi, of Pagak Chiefdom, Collins Atiku Muttu II of Patiko Chiefdom, Michael Ojok Aginya of Bwobo Chiefdom, Kasimiro Ongom of Patongo Chiefdom and Richard Santo Apire of Atiak Chiefdom among others.

The chiefs outlined five major areas of concern for their grievances among them the failure by Rwot Acana to have a working constitution, alleged plans to sell off a plot of land measuring 0.33 hectares located at Plot 5-5a along Airfield Road in Bardege-Layibi Division in Gulu City.

Other issues are alleged mismanagement of donor funds between 2003-2014 and lack of accountability for money offered by President Museveni in October 2022 for dialogue over Apaa land conflicts between the Madi and Acholi communities. The chiefs also want the current lifetime tenure of office of the Paramount chief abolished and reduced to five years renewable only once.

But Rwot Acana on Tuesday denied all the allegations against him citing they are propaganda being peddled by the breakaway faction of chiefs to tarnish his image and that of the cultural institution.

Rwot Acana was installed on January 15, 2005, as the Acholi Paramount Chief and replaced his father Godfrey Erecenia Acana who died in October 1999. He is the 24th traditional chief of the Payira clan, the largest clan in Acholi.