Government gazettes Odongo Okune as Lango cultural leader

Eng Dr Michael Moses Odongo Okune, Lango Paramount Chief. PHOTO/BILL OKETCH

What you need to know:

  • On June 14, the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Betty Amongi Ongom, directed the executive director of Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation to have Dr Odongo Okune’s status as Lango cultural leader gazetted.

The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development has gazetted Eng Dr Michael Moses Odongo Okune as the Won Nyaci (paramount chief) of the Lango ethnic group.

This ordinarily means “end of the road” for any member of Lango who is nurturing ambition of also becoming Won Nyaci.

Dr Odongo Okune, who will be installed as the new Won Nyaci on November 2, 2024, replaced his aging uncle Mzee Yosam Odur Ebii.

He was elected to this highest respected position of authority on March 1, 2024 after beating Dr Dan Okello, former lecturer at Makerere University, also Guna clan head.

The new Won Nyaci-elect got 1,692 votes against Dr Okello’s 139 votes out of the total votes cast. There were 27 invalid votes.

Mr Tom Otim, the Lango Cultural Institution’s Electoral Commission chairperson said the election was free and fair.

On June 14, the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Betty Amongi Ongom, directed the executive director of Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation to have Dr Odongo Okune’s status as Lango cultural leader gazetted.

The directive is in accordance with section 6 of the Institution of Traditional or Cultural Leaders Act 2011.  

This particular section states that: “where a traditional or cultural leader has been declared to exist in any area of Uganda in accordance with the culture, customs and traditions or wishes and aspirations of the people, the minister shall ensure the declaration to be published in the Gazette.”

Ms Amongi said that after thorough scrutiny of the processes leading to the election of the Lango cultural leader, the ministry had no objection to having the leader gazetted.

“Following the unanimous election of the new Won Nyaci of Lango Cultural Institution on 1st March 2024, I hereby authorize the publication in the Uganda Gazette, notifying the general public that Eng Dr Michael Moses Odongo Okune is hereby gazetted as Won Nyaci of Lango Cultural Institution effective 2nd November 2024,” the minister said in the June 14 published notice.

Government Chief Whip, Mr Denis Hamson Obua, is now heading a national committee which is busy soliciting for the funds needed for the new Won Nyaci’s coronation, scheduled for November 2. 

At least Shs2.8 billion is needed for this ceremony.

Mr Robert Olet Egwea, a clan leader who lives in the United Kingdom, said the decision to gazette Dr Odongo Okune has finally settled the prolonged leadership battles at Lango Cultural Institution.

Dr Odongo Okune is the former executive director of Uganda Road Fund (URF).

Brief about Dr Odongo Okune

He was born on March 6, 1965 to the late Joseph William Okune Onweng and Helen Acen Odora both of Ibuje Sub-county in Apac District.

He studied his primary education at Ibuje Primary School (1971-1978), and joined Sir Samuel Baker School Gulu (Ordinary Level; 1979-1982), St Peters’ College- Tororo (Advanced Level 1983-1985); Makerere University (BSc. Civil Eng. 1985-89; M. Eng. Civil MUK (2003), MBA (Esami/Maastricht), 2003, MSc. Bridge Eng. University of Surrey (UK) (2005), PhD (Civil Eng.) MUK 2009.

He served as awitong (clan head) of Okar Omwono (2010-2024).