Cultural leaders want recognition from govt

Monday May 28 2012

By Joseph Miti

Traditional leaders have revitalised their attack on government for persistently oppressing their institutions, saying it has undermined development and fueled environmental degradation in the country.

The clan leaders also accused government of undermining traditional institutions and failing to consult them on national issues despite the key role they play in influencing community perspective, attitudes and development.
Mr Charles Ombidi III, the paramount chief of Panyimur Kwanga in Nebbi District, said whenever traditional leaders speak out on irregularities caused by government, they are intimidated and reminded of violating the Constitution.
Mr Ombidi was speaking at the launch of the clan leaders’ charters at the National Theatre in Kampala on Saturday, presided over by Prof. Edward Rugumayo, the chancellor Mountains of the Moon University.

According to Ms Emily Drani, the executive director of Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda, the charters -guidelines for clan leaders, was approved by 352 clan leaders of Alur, Busoga, Lango, Pokot and Toro.

Col (rtd) Tony Otoa, the prime minister of Tekwaro-a-Lango, said besides political interference, bad laws, policies and guidelines introduced by government are frustrating their operations such as promoting peace, resolving conflicts and discouraging development.

“Government has ignored our values. Since 1714 to 1914, before the colonialists came to Lango, we were living in peace and were able to resolve our issues but since then we have been forced to fall apart,” Mr Otoa said.
Ms Julian Naumo, the commissioner for Culture and Family Affairs, however, dismissed the allegations, saying government always supports and consults cultural leaders-.

“We can’t reach everyone but we normally work with these organisations whenever we are introducing new programmes,” she said.
Mr Andrew Kawooya , the head of governance at Development Research and Training, said the charters will act as policies to guide cultural leaders and amplify their voices.