MBALE- A section of leaders in Bamasaaba Cultural Institution in Bugisu Sub-region have opposed the decision of appointing five judges of the High Court to preside over the election process of the new cultural leader.
The outgoing cultural leader, Sir Bob Mushikori, on June24, appointed a special six-member committee, consisting of five judges of the High Court and a professor to head the nominations and election process of a new cultural leader.
Among the appointed judges are Justice Lawrence Gidudu, Justice David Wangutusi, Justice Wilson Masalu, Lady Justice Margaret Mutonyi, Justice Paul Gadenya and Prof Nixon Sifuna Wanyama, who is a legal practitioner.
The appointment of special committee comes after the election of the new Umukuuka hit a snag two week ago. Two parallel groups within the institution leadership had released separate election roadmaps.
The first roadmap was released by the faction that is affiliated to Mr Mushikori and another by the group allied to Mr James Kangala, the secretary general of the institution.
Mr Mushikori and Mr Kangala fell out last year after the later accused the former of incompetence, misuse of office and poor dress code, among others, allegations Mr Mushikori denies.
The chairperson of the governing board, Mr Stephen Mungoma, told Daily Monitor at the weekend that Mr Mushikori has no constitutional mandate to appoint anybody to head the election process of a new Umukuuka.
“The Umukuuka only has powers to appoint special committee to head the election process,” he said. Mr Mungoma said it is only the general assembly that has the constitutional rights to appoint a search committee for the selection of the next Umukuuka.
Mr Kangala said the constitution only gives Umukuuka powers to advice the institution through the culture council and the governing board.
He said they have already formed a search committee that has started work and candidates have been nominated. The election was supposed to take place on June 28, but Mr Kangala said it will be delayed until July due to coronavirus.
However, Mr Mathius Nabutele, the deputy prime minister in charge of the Umukuuka’s affairs, said the new appointed committee will ensure the election process is free and fair.
“Our cultural leader has entrusted the election process to the eminent men and women of this soil. This will help us to avoid the past mistakes of having the same people who vet and also elect,” Mr Nabutele said. The institution’s first cultural head was Uwelukosi Umukuuku, Wilson Wamimbi in 2010. Mr Wamimbi was replaced by Sir Bob Mushikori in 2015.