Reviews & Profiles
Acholi Palaces: Are they fit for the chiefs’ habitation?
Posted Friday, February 1 2013 at 00:00
The debate on whether Acholi leaders’ palaces meet the bill is raging. The chiefs were given homes by the government to serve their subjects better, but, the quality of homes has become the talking subject as some chiefs are not happy with the workmanship, while others are contented.
In 2007, following the government’s pronouncement that the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency was over and that it was safe for Internally Displaced Persons to return to their villages.
The defeat of the rebels ushered in a new era for the traditional leaders in Acholi.
The government in 2008 ordered the construction of 54 houses for all the clan chiefs in the sub region. The chiefs had asked President Museveni to support their resettlement in their original villages where their subjects had moved to enable them adequately mobilise them for development.
The President then tasked the Office of the Prime Minister under the northern recovery component of the PRDP to implement the project. The homes built with hydra foam blocks would have two bedrooms and a boys’ quarter.
But several of the construction projects stayed longer than expected because of rampant anomalies that dogged them, ranging from land conflicts to structural design mismatch among others.
This left some of the “palaces” unoccupied to date despite being officially handed over to the chiefs.
However, some chiefs say although the government’s plan them was good, those who implemented the construction works left a lot to be desired.
Rwot Jeremiah Bongojane, the clan chief of Patiko, last Saturday said they are grateful to the government for the assistance. However, he has questions on the value of the houses that barely two years, yet, have developed cracks.
Rwot Bongojane says his house has started leaking and its floor has been repeatedly refurbished.
“The floor has been worked on three times since it started peeling off, the interlockers of the hydra foams are hollow, becoming a breeding ground for insects,” he said.
Although the clan chief of Pajule, George William Lugai, who is also the deputy Paramount Chief of Acholi, expressed gratitude over the homes, he also observes that they needed better craftsmanship.
“We are pleased anyway but next time there should be better work than what was done, they should have installed solar system on the houses, something which is missing up to now,” Mr Lugai said.
Pader elder contented
His counterpart, George Oywac Ywakamoi of Koyo clan, however, differs, saying, he does not see anything wrong with his house.
Ywakamoi says his “palace” makes him comfortably live with his subjects and it is where he shares ideas with them.
“I can now advise my people on issues of development. We are living together as one family which is a good thing for consolidating the Acholi culture.”