Areas of interest:
- Cultural leadership
- Lango agenda
His analysis verbatim
Sam Engola: This is a man who has been the chairman NRM for Lira district, I don’t know for how many years. This is a man who has been the national vice chairperson for northern region; a member of CEC. This is a man who has been a minister, and a Member of Parliament but now when you ask him, why he don’t want to leave this position of NRM for Lira district, appoint someone to be there and you continue – he won’t accept that, he would rather die a chairperson of a party. What does it implies? Greedy, selfishness.
Now, as we live in Lango most of the leaders in Lango are not thinking about the people they lead. If you analyse Okot Ogong [Dokolo South MP], he thinks about himself, and the Ogong Neri’s empire. Even if you go to Dokolo, there is nothing much visible.
Betty Amongi was appointed a Minister in the best interest of President Museveni; supposed to work for entire Lango. Go and ask her – what are the achievements and some progress they have established in Lango; and they don’t promote young people, they want to be big bulls only.
In our generation, comprising of about 71 percent, we have got only Honourable Minister [MP] Denis Hamson Obua from Ajuri, we have Honourable Paul Amoru [Dokolo North], Bonny Okello Desales ‘Konypaco’ [MP Kole North] – that’s the generation.
When you look at the history, you will find that Minister Obua when he wanted to become the Youth MP, Northern region, some Lango top leaders fought Obua; they didn’t want him. Obua had to penetrate it himself and he managed it. When Okello Konypaco wanted to be an MP for Kole North, he didn’t get blessings from Lango leadership – Okello just entered the fire, he managed it and now they are silent.
Obua was not going to come back [in 2016 elections] for the war waged on him; because of the interest of the President, Obua came back, now he’s a Minister.
Aceng Joy Ruth [is within the same age bracket], was appointed a minister and she was fought tooth and nail. We have lost the Minister of State for Fisheries. Obua would have been an addition in the current cabinet – we have never been compensated. Why? Because Lango top leaders wage war on the young people.
Now, if tomorrow these people are not there, where are we heading? Engola is not there tomorrow and has not prepared anybody who will take over? Okot Ogong is not there tomorrow and has not prepared anybody who is next? Lango is dying gradually and people are seeing and nobody is talking about it; nobody is thinking about it. Now, if young ones [youths] have come, they rise up against them [us]; who’s this Adupa? Where has he been living and why is he coming to contest and what does he has? These people believe in their wealth, riches and sometimes may be their enchantresses or what. It has made us Lango people far behind.
Go to state parastatals or government bodies, we are few because we are not being pushed.
George Abdul should have won Northern Youth MP, what happened? Didn’t Lango leaders fight Abdul and the seat went to Acholi? Who doesn’t know that story! This is a youth, the generation. Why the leadership in Lango are killing the generation? Why are they not promoting the generation? What have we done? Is it our mistake that we are born and found them in leadership and our generation still get them there? I think they must create a room. That’s why we are looking at President Museveni to bring in new generation into the cabinet because he wants to go with the generation, but our Lango leaders when they hear someone has power and wants to contest, they come and start ‘hacking your head’, pulling you down. Up to when?
Lango must open their eyes and see that leadership is dying when people are seeing.
Erute South in the last polls elected Honourable Jonathan Odur, he performed well. First term, he spoke 58 times in Parliament. If you compare with previous sittings, and all other representations in Erute South who would be rated to have performed well? Is Odur an old man? He’s a man of the generation. Is Obua an old man? He’s a man of the generation.
Now, when they see that you are more intelligent enough, they fight you. They will blackmail you, they will talk everything they want, and talk and they will make sure that you are down completely. This is not a good heart. Our top Lango leaders, leave this bad belief. I wouldn’t want this to continue because it will integrates from generation to generation and will die for eternity.
This bad heart made us to sell government we would now be enjoying – this bad heart!
My activism in Amolatar
Back to Amolatar, are the same problems; I came and found NRM district chairman in Olobo Dubai. Olobo had left NRM party. Constitution of the party is very clear. When Olobo contested with Okello Anthony in the party primary election to hold the flag for MP seat, Olobo was defeated. Mr Olobo picked an independent’s form and stood. Instead of now being independent, he took the party to court, a party he was its chairperson. He dragged the flag bearer, he took the electoral commission of the party, and yet he was the chairperson of NRM in the election he was organising.
Because when you are the chairperson of NRM, the electoral team are under you. Olobo took his people to court because he was defeated. He campaigned against NRM incumbent-flag bearer.
The constitution of the party says such person must be expelled, dismissed from the party. If he wants to come back to the party, the constitution also says you are admitted from your village, the chairperson of the village should welcome you, up to the district level. When Olobo lost general election, he came back loitering in the corridors and those of Engola Sam, the likes of Richard Towdong supported him, pushed him and we heard Olobo was reinstalled as district NRM chair. We have not seen Olobo’s new appointment letter – Olobo divided NRM. Amolatar has NRM for Olobo and NRM for Okello Anthony. I came and asked them ‘where are we heading?” NRM is a mass party. Nobody should personalise it, nobody should personalise the members of the party. That’s the party that belongs to everyone. Why are we personalising the party?
What I have done
I started calling and inviting sub-counties NRM chairpersons, parishes and I brought them together and started digesting issues at hand. They all said it’s true, problem is there. Olobo Dubai who has been NRM district chairperson for 10 years has never shown his works; you only see supporters with starving faces.
In diving NRM supporters, Olobo ensured Museveni’s performance in the last elections dropped from 68 percent to 52 percent compared to 2011. Because when Olobo lost primary election to hold the party flag, and stood as an independent, he told his supporters he was only mindful of his votes and outcomes and he wasn’t concerned about Museveni’s.
In fact, Amolatar was a district with much confusion in Lango. Ongom Seydou won the poll as chair NRM and as a district chairperson; he appointed UPC as his vice and appointed all his cabinet opposition while saying he’s an NRM member. I came, called meetings and said no, we are not going to live like this. I told them we are going to amplify Museveni’s votes; picking it from 52 percent to a percent exceeding 90 or we will retain it at 90 percent, desisting from leadership of confusion and division and everybody to become ordinary party members.
This is why NRM ordinary Amolatar chapter started and I’m their leader. Then they [those of Dubai and others] started saying Adupa has also come and got his people; NRM Amolatar is now divided into three. My action was not to divide the party, it was to bring everybody back without Okello, without thinking of Olobo.
My mission, vision and focus has been to make all of us become ordinary members, only us. Because if there are those who don’t believe in Olobo’s leadership and Okello’s leadership yet they believe in NRM, where do they go? So we needed a neutral ground. So, I think I was the only neutral ground in Amolatar. Now, all the 11 chairperson of the sub-counties are with me, chairpersons of parishes are with me, villages are with me.
These people [those against my intervention] ignited a fight against me – asking themselves where has [he] Adupa Ongwec come from. He comes from where we don’t know, it’s not possible. He’s sent by Gen Henry Tumukunde. The report was sent to RDC. RDC just received it, wanting to fight me. If I didn’t had power, I would be teargased with my people, the real NRM supporters; chairpersons NRM from sub-counties, villages and parishes I had called to for a meeting over reconciliation to see NRM moves forward without thinking about Olobo and Okello.
It took the intervention of the President who said let those people go ahead and discuss if it’s for the party. I held successful meetings with good resolutions.
This people never get tired. Olobo left for NRM Secretariat saying “help us with Adupa. Tumukunde has sent him and he’s bad”. Secretariat denied him the audiance, he called Sam Engola, “this man has come here, he’s disturbing us, and he can’t be the chairperson of the party.” Engola called me, I went to him, I explained everything to him but their intention of ‘hacking our heads’ like a big cock fighting for a hen is still on their heads.
Is this the kind of leadership we want in Lango, don’t we see there is a problem? Who’s supposed to fix it?
We want Lango Development Agenda [LDA] where if you go to the President, you say it before telling him your personal agenda. Why don’t we do this? Time is going, day is going.
Go to Lango, they have produced children in abundance – but these children in abundance in the next 20 years, if they don’t eat people, come ask me. Even now our elderly grandmothers after getting their SAGE pays are being waylaid. Let’s wait and see.
We should not use peoples’ weaknesses to bring them down because there are things that they can do good. When Museveni went to the bush, they talked about him; he’s a thug, a robber but didn’t a robber fail to form a government? These are the issues I have for Lango, broad issues. I don’t have only in Amolatar as a district, I have problem with leaders in Lango. They should leave out being greedy, selfish and they should believe that young people wanting to join position of leadership must be supported; let them support people, we should stop friction, but if we continue fighting Lango will remain backward.
We will have youth pressure groups from eight districts in Lango sub-region and they will demand to read their memorandum before the President and to tell people about the weaknesses of leaders, how these people are selfish and how greedy they are and if, the president wants to work with them, well and good, we will look for a political party to work with.
Lango Conference 2012
No one has bothered to analyse the documents, no one has bothered to interrogate the documents, push the agendas before the national government so that they can be implemented in the best interest of Lango. People are fighting, looking for position – who should be the Won Nyaci [Paramount Chief], who should be the Prime Minister, who should be the Foreign Affairs Minister [Awitim], who should be who, etc.
They are doing what they do and doing what they should have been doing – according to the Holy Book.
Lango Conference 2012 has never yielded any fruits. After wasting a lot of our time, our resources, after wasting government resources, it came to trash. They should have constructed Lango Cultural Palace when our own was a Minister for Northern Uganda Rehabilitation.
The money came from Office of the Prime Minister and war started, “who’s supposed to take the contract.” There are so many things I just keep quite on.
Government told us if you are still fighting, your palace will wait until you settle out your indifferences and how it should be built – the then Minister Rebecca Amuge Otengo handed back the money to government.
When it was right time for the Lango Cultural Palace construction to kick-off, there emerged Eng Odongo Okune, calling himself ‘I am the substantial cultural leader’ and if it’s to be ‘built, it should be under my supervision.’
Won Nyaci [Yosam Odur Ebii] here is also gazetted by government as Lango Paramount Chief, Ministry of Gender held the money. No Palace. Are these people after Lango development?
What do you really want in this Won Nyaci title? Just to be Won Nyaci and leave us without development, do you really have a good heart for the tribe you wants to lead?
Why can’t you say if it’s because of the Palace, Mzee Odur you go ahead and see the palace construction done and start fighting who should occupy that palace? That would be a proper approach. They are always fighting, moving left and right. So, we have never implemented Lango Development Agenda of Lango Conference 2012.
I urge Odongo Okune as he was the chairperson of that conference to come and read the agenda before Lango and he gives us the status of progress of the agenda before he starts saying he’s also a Won Nyaci.
It’s a big shame being seen as a Lango son, and in some cases you must hide yourself when in public – as some tribes now say “look at this man who has two Lango Paramount Chiefs.”
A cultural [clan] leader should be the last solution. When we get problem with national government we come back home and he consoles us; they don’t want to do that. What has bewitched Lango?
But, those disturbing Lango, getting money using Lango and getting richer, building flats day and night, true judgement will one day come….
The author is an MP aspirant, Kyoga County, Amolatar district – 2021 polls.