John Francis Okuma, the speaker of the Iteso Cultural Union, has written to the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) requesting that Paul Sande Emolot, the embattled council chairperson, oversee the office of Emorimor.
In June of last year, the late Emorimor, Augustine Osuban Lemukol, suspended Emolot and more than 100 members of the ICU Council.
The suspension of the ICU Council came after the Harmonization Committee, directed by Msgr. Robert Ecogu of the Soroti Catholic Diocese, made recommendations about alleged irregularities and egregious misconduct during the November 2019 elections.
In the same letter, the late Emorimor dissolved the ICU electoral commission.
However, in a letter to the ministry dated February 21, 2022, Okuma stated that the ICU Constitution requires the council chairperson to caretake the office of the Emorimor for six months while they prepare for the next cultural leader’s election.
He stated that the office of Emorimor should be overseen by the ICU chairperson Emolot, as the custodian of the laws governing the Iteso Cultural Union, and in light of recent events.
“In the meantime, the chairperson of the council, Paul Sande Emolot is the caretaker of the office of HH Emorimor Papa Iteso as stipulated in the constitution and guide that all correspondences and engagements with the institution are done through his office”, the letter reads
The letter also states that the ICU Council, led by Emolot, will provide an updated program on the next steps in filling Emorimor’s vacancy.
Okuma stated on the radio that the suspension of the ICU Council is illegitimate since the Emorimor lacked the necessary authority.
According to the ICU Constitution, the council is the institution’s legislative body that oversees the office of Emorimor’s discipline. Emorimor is deputized by the chairperson of the council, which makes decisions in the institution.
The ICU council also analyzes and approves the institution’s audited records, as well as the approval of all appointed officials, such as the prime minister and cabinet.
When the position of Emorimor becomes empty, the chairperson of the ICU Council is responsible for notifying all delegates and inviting candidates to fill up nomination forms. An extraordinary conference of the delegates is called from there for the same reason.
However, Jonathan Maraka, an ICU spokesman, claims that there is no leadership vacuum because the cabinet, led by Prime Minister Augustine Omare- Okurut, also known as Ekirigi, is working closely with the line ministry to ensure a successful succession in Iteso cultural leadership.
During the Emorimor’s burial, Peace Mutuuzo, Minister of State for Gender and Culture, promised to return to Teso with instructions on how to conduct the new president’s election.
According to Article X111, Subsection (a) of the ICU Constitution, Emorimor should be elected on a rotating basis from any of the four regions of Iteso communities in Uganda and Kenya: Northern, Southern, Central, and Eastern.
The northern region includes the districts of Soroti, Katakwi, Amuria, Kapelebyong, Kaberamaido, and Kalaki; the southern region includes the districts of Kumi, Pallisa, Ngora, Butebo, Mbale, and Bukedea; and the central region includes the districts of Tororo, Bugiri, Busia in Uganda, Namayingo, Mayuge, and Manafwa.
Mt. Elgon, Chaptais, Teso North, Teso South, Busia in Kenya, Nambale, and Matayos are among the Kenyan districts that make up the eastern area.