Bagwere cultural leader’s poll hangs in the balance

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Mr Balaam Kintu Pagholi Mubbala, a cultural head, through his lawyers, sought the court’s intervention last week

The fresh elections for the Bagwere cultural leader ordered by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development are hanging in  the balance after one of the parallel leaders applied to Mbale High Court seeking an injunction.

Mr Balaam Kintu Pagholi Mubbala, a cultural head, through his lawyers, sought the court’s intervention last week.

This comes two weeks after the February 1, meeting chaired by the Gender minister, Ms Betty Amongi, in which they had agreed to hold fresh elections.

The meeting was attended by the three rival camps headed by respective cultural heads, among them Mr Mubbala, Mr Joshua Musimami, and Mr Geoffrey Weyabire Jr, as part of efforts to harmonise and draw strategies to have a legitimate cultural leader.

The Institution has been embroiled in leadership wrangles with three parallel leaders, all claiming to be rightful cultural heads of the Institution, although none is gazetted by the government.

The trouble in the Institution started following the sudden death of the then cultural leader, John Weyabire, who succumbed to Covid-19 at Entebbe Hospital on February 7, 2021.

However, Mr Mubbala has since changed his mind and now claims the Ministry of Gender should instead gazette him.

“We have petitioned court because the High Court sitting in Mbale had made three judgments pronouncing that I was duly elected as the cultural leader of Bagwere,” Mr Mubbala said.

The court order further stated that Mr Mubbala was unanimously declared by 64 clan heads on September 22, 2021, as a cultural leader.

He explained that there is another court order directing the Ministry of Gender to gazette him as the cultural leader.

“The Application was heard and the ruling is slated for February 28. The Ministry of Gender is in the know but unfortunately, they have gone ahead to overlook the court order.  There is no need to participate in an election,” Mr Mubbala said.

Mr Badiru Kirya, the chairperson of the cultural council, said preparations are still going on to have an election conducted within 14 days, which process has already started with re-organising voters.

“All these processes would be conducted following the 2013 constitution of the Institution,”  he said.