Elders Refuse New ‘King’ in Karamoja

Papaa Angasuban Peter Adei, the Interim Karamoja Cultural leader. PHOTO/COURTESY

Moroto, Uganda | THE BLACK EXAMINER | A segment of Moroto district’s elders has voiced their disagreement with the appointment of a cultural leader, emphasizing the need for more extensive consultations. The cultural leader, to be known as Papaa Angasuban, was selected by representatives of the Elders Council, representing districts across the region.

Each district delegated two representatives to the meeting, where 81-year-old Peter Adei from Abim district was named the interim cultural leader. The council also designated a cow as the symbol of the cultural institution, signifying unity. Following this, the leadership formed a cabinet with ministers tasked to oversee various aspects of governance and administrative functions.

However, this initiative has encountered opposition from a faction of elders who oppose the cultural institution, asserting the need for more comprehensive consultations.

Mark Aol Musoka, appointed as the Minister for Peace and Security, commended the initiative but expressed concerns about its rushed nature, emphasizing the need for a more deliberate approach to establishing a traditional governance system, learning from neighboring cultural institutions. He pointed out that hastiness could undermine the institution’s viability.

Joseph Otita, another elder, stressed that creating a cultural institution was a complex process that required more time for consultations, given the diversity of cultural practices in Karamoja. Appointing a single cultural leader for all Karimojong communities might pose challenges.

He also noted that some communities were dealing with conflicts, making unity difficult until security issues were resolved. Otita suggested that the kingdom issue be set aside to prevent exacerbating insecurity if not handled with caution. He questioned the effectiveness of a cultural leader who might not fully understand the various clusters and cultural practices within the communities.

Jackson Adome Angela, another elder, argued that the Karimojong people were unaccustomed to being ruled under a kingdom, and introducing such a system could potentially lead to conflicts among the communities. He stressed that the Karimojong sought an elder who could unite all communities for peaceful coexistence, rather than a king. He urged the elders behind the initiative to reconsider and select a representative of the elders instead of a king.

Prior to these developments, the Karamoja Elder’s Council held the highest authority in cultural affairs in the region.

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