A section of clan heads (Owitong) under the leadership of Paramount Chief Engineer Dr. Michael Moses Odongo Okune has expressed their consternations on the frigid treatment he received at the hands of the Chief Executive Officer (President) of Uganda, Gen Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
On Sunday after delivering his 11th address to the nation on the COVID-19 pandemic, President Museveni proceeded to read out list of benevolent Ugandan individuals, companies and investors who have donated to the COVID-19 national task force. On the list was a “humble token” of $2,000 tagged on Tekwaro Lango under her leader Eng Dr Michael Moses Odongo Okune.
But to the chagrin of Lango elders [Owintong] who also pooled their resources and added to that of the Wonyaci, Mr. Museveni did not reflect that the contribution was from Tekwaro Lango and delivered to the national taskforce by Eng Dr Michael Moses Odongo Okune in the capacity of the Won Nyaci of Tekwaro Lango.
“Now my son wants to cause me problems,” Museveni said as he announced the donation of US$ 2,000. He then progressed to announce that “this is my son who is fighting for a chair with my brother.” Then the Head of State termed the fight for the chair “a family matter”.
Speaking to this contemporary digital newspaper on Tuesday, Isaac Opio Opeo, the speaker of Tekwaro Lango noted with concern that the President should not have casually treated the donation because it was not given by Eng Dr. Odongo Okune as an individual, but rather on behalf of Owitong of Lango.
“Yes, we appreciate that the President acknowledged his cordial relationship with our Won Nyaci but referring to him as ‘his son was not in our best interest but disdainful to Lango’s chiefdom and the council of Owitong who entrusted Dr. Odongo Okune with the leadership of Tekwaro Lango as her Paramount chief,” Mr Opeo reacted.
On resolving the impasse that recently engulfed Lango Cultural leadership, Opio Opeo said “The President is fully aware that the Council of Owitong – the supreme decision-making body has since shifted their loyalty to Dr. Odongo Okune whom they duly elected as a substantive Won Nyaci.”
“We brought this issue to the attention of the President when we met him at Morulinga State Lodge in Moroto district. We took to the President the constitution of Tekwaro Lango promulgated in 2016, we equally briefed him on the Karuma Peace Agreement and the subsequent court rulings in favour of Dr. Odongo Okune and he understood us,” Opio told TND News in the same interview, Tuesday.
Much as the President pledged to handle it, Opeo wonders why it has taken the President so long to make a decision.
TND News has since established that Dr Odongo Okune and his aides have asked the President to give Mzee Yosam Odur Ebii a retirement package so he could retire honourably at Teboke.
Opio has been joined in this bitterness by other clan chiefs notably: Opio Omara, the Prime Minister of Tekwaro Lango, Omara Orech, the deputy Prime Minister, Peter Alol, the clan chief of Bako-otara clan and Mathew Omara.
Addressing the press separately on Monday, the clan heads issued a joint statement to show their dissatisfaction with what they called “the cold treatment of their leader Dr.Odongo Okune”. They also say it equally means the President “did not welcome their donation”.
“In solidarity with the rest of the country and to equally forge synergies with the national task force in fighting COVID-19, in our capacities as can heads in Lango, we struggled to raise resources and channelled it through our Won Nyaci, Eng Dr Michael Odongo Okune who topped up to make it $2,000,” said Peter Alol.
“But not to recognize us as a Chiefdom is a very unfair treatment of not only our Won Nyaci but a vast majority of the people of Lango who, through their clan leaders, have entrusted Dr. Odongo to lead them,” Alol adds.
Another clan leader told TND News that he was not pleased with the mention of the contribution from Lango Chiefdom and said even Busoga has squabbles but the President went ahead to recognize them and said this, by implication, shows that the President does not have a soft spot for his subjects in Lango.
Joshua Otim, 26, a young graduate with a degree in Arts and Culture and an NRM supporter, said much us he was born in the contemporary time, he has great admiration for his culture and Dr. Odongo.
He added that he was not pleased with the demeanour of the President as he failed to mention that the contribution was from Tekwaro Lango.
Dr. Odongo Okune donates again
Much as his subjects are dismayed the President, Eng Dr Odongo Okune has again shown that he has a large heart for his subjects and that he is, indeed, a true philanthropist.
On Tuesday, he reached out to the local task force headed by Lira Resident District Commissioner with instructions that it should be rationed to all the districts of Lango.
The donation from Won Nyaci Odongo Okune include 450kgs of beans and 30 bags of maize flour for the entire vulnerable groups in Lango.
According to the Speaker, Isaac Opio Opeo, who also doubles as the clan leader of Abwor Bako Omor Ikidi, their leader has decreed that the leadership of other districts in Lango should liaise with the RDC of Lira to ensure that they identify all the vulnerable groups to benefit from his donations.
Juspanti Akello, an elderly woman in Lira’s Omodo suburb, has welcomed the kind gesture from Eng Dr Odongo Okune, saying, “This is a manifestation that he is a cultural leader who has his people at heart.”