SOROTI, UGANDA: The founding members of Iteso Cultural Union have given an ultimatum of March 31, 2022, for the Teso Paramount Chief, Emorimor Augustine Osuban Lemukol and his cabinet to conduct fresh elections of council members.
This follows the alleged irregularities in the November 2019 elections. The election that saw Paul Sande Emolot elected as the chairperson of the Iteso Cultural Union Council was contested on grounds that it was marred with irregularities.
Among the irregularities is the alleged amendment in the constitution where the union’s electoral body removed interest groups from sub-counties that would constitute the electorate. The members accused the institution’s Electoral Commission of violating the rights of People with Disabilities, the youth and women when they failed to consider them in the elections.
This forced Emorimor to dissolve the Electoral Commission and suspend the council in June 2021. But the letters of dissolution of the Electoral Commission and suspension of the council only came to be known in December 2021 when Emolot, the chairperson of the council called for a meeting in Soroti.
The meeting that was supposed to probe the accounts and projects undertaken by the institution, approve council committee and chairpersons, and elect the deputy speaker of the council, among other items was prematurely adjourned when Emorimor and his cabinet failed to show up on December 30, 2021.
In a letter to Emolot dated December 29, 2021, Emorimor declined to attend the planned meeting citing his initial position on the dissolution of the Electoral Commission and suspension of the council. He also guided his team to follow the recommendations of the Harmonization Committee chaired by Rev. Fr. Robert Ecogu.
The Harmonization Committee was formed after the 2019 elections when some of the founder members threatened to block the swearing-in of council members. But the ceremony continued when the presiding magistrate tasked Emorimor to address the impasse, which he said would be handled internally.
William Alloch, the Chairperson of Iteso Cultural Union founder members says that they have given the institution up to the end of March to conduct the elections. According to Alloch, Iteso Cultural Union is now a one-man institution without a cabinet and council. In the Iteso Cultural Union Constitution, council is the highest decision making body while the cabinet implements the resolutions of the council.
Alloch says that the Electoral Commission erred when they usurped the powers of the council to amend and use the constitution during the election. He notes that the commission, instead of picking delegates from the sub-counties chose to concentrate at the district level.
But Emolot, the disputed chairperson of Iteso Cultural Council says that less than 10 per cent of the positions had issues, something he notes would be handled without suspending council. Quoting Article 31 of the Iteso Cultural Union Constitution on the dissolution of council, Emolot while appearing on a radio talk show in Soroti said that Emorimor erred in his June letter to suspend council and dissolve the EC.
According to Emolot, Emorimor should have used another approach to rectify the anomalies in the 2019 elections other than suspension of council and dissolution of the EC.
However, in his recent public appearance in Madera, Emorimor said that his leadership is facing opposition because of the little funding extended by the government and other well-wishers.
“Emorimor was in every clan and his/her work was to serve not to rule. He/she was would be selected based on the conduct unanimously. It was a voluntary service. But now, many people are coming up and want Emorimor’s office to be subjected to elections because they see him driven and has some facilitation here and there, it is causing conflicts into the institution”, he said.
This was during a meeting with Teso leaders that was called by the Bishop of Soroti Catholic Diocese, Rt. Rev. Joseph Eciru Oliach. During the meeting, he added that they are working on some amendments to help the institution grow stronger by identifying the needs of the clans in Teso.
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