In Lira: 20 January 2013
Won Nyaci Yocam Odur Ebii, the Lango Paramount Chief has proved to be a strong traditional leader with unshakeable vision and love for the people of Lango. He successfully hosted a mega Lango Conference, attended by over 2000 people from all over the world in Lira from 27th – 29th December 2012. His Highness organised the event with the help of several professionals and academicians, under the chairmanship of Awitim Dr. Micheal Moses Odongo.
People of all walks of life have hailed the conference as a big success. Even before the report is published, the government of Uganda has already responded affirmatively to some of the resolutions. While attending the closing ceremony of the conference on 29th December, President Museveni promised to establish a government university in Lango and to tarmac Masindi Port-Apac-Lira-Kitgum road. The government has also resolved to build and equip a fire station in Lira as requested.
However, in the run up to the conference, some anti-establishment clan leaders, politicians and their allies in the Diaspora made malicious allegations and threats of legal action against senior leaders of Tekwaro Lango with the aim of disrupting the conference.
Ogole is the man that shot the then rebel leader of National Resistance Army Yoweri Museveni in the leg when fighting Obote’s regime in Luweero Triangle in mid 1980s.
We have since unearthed those believed to have been key strategists and financiers of the conference as well as Tekwaro Lango.
Dr. Eng. Micheal Moses Odongo: He is the head of all sons and daughters of Lango who live or work outside Lango. It was Dr.Odongo who hatched the idea to organize Lango conference 2012 and later shared it with the traditional leader Yocam Odur.
He is the man that became a key link between Tekwaro Lango and hundreds of highly qualified Lango professionals, including professors and doctors, most of whom are his friends.
We have also established that Dr.Odongo is actually the de-facto financer of most activities at Lango Cultural Foundation.
Being a wealthy senior engineer and boss of Uganda Road Fund, he is not a strange face to several senior wealthy sons and daughters of Lango. Therefore, it was very easy for him to convince them to support their cultural institution and participate in the conference.
Lango Web has also established that the idea to hold the conference stemmed from a strong realization of development deficit in the region as a result of numerous events of the past and attempts to respond to these challenges.
Col. Tonny Otoa: He is the current Prime Minister of Tekwaro Lango. During the conference, he was the overall coordinator and overseer on behalf of the Lango Paramount Chief Yocam Odur. It was Col. Otoa who was in charge of invitation to high profile dignitaries. He has been the foundation’s Prime Minister for over three years now.
Col Otoa accompanied Won Nyaci to Washington and United Kingdom, a tour that attracted wide condemnation and attacks against him especially from a group of those opposed to Lango Conference 2012. Had it not been because of his military skills, Col Otoa could have resigned long ago due to persistent malicious allegation against him from a section of Lango community.
Rebecca Amuge Otengo: She is the Alebtong district woman MP and Minister of State for Northern Uganda. Lango Web has established that Minister Otengo is honest and straight in her decisions and also appears to promote her cultural values more than any other politician in this region.
Shockingly, during the recently concluded cultural event, whereas other legislators from the region pulled little dimes and others rejected the idea to donate funds, minister Otengo pulled a whooping 16 million shillings towards the arrangement, thus making her the biggest financier of the conference.
Many could not believe that it was indeed Otengo who is the only female minister from Lango that donated such a heavy figure yet some legislators had contributed nothing. On top of her generous donation, Minister Otengo fully participated in the three-day conference. She has thus proved that she is a legislator who respects, believes in and honours her traditional institution.
Sam Engola: He is the clan head of Otikokin, MP of Erute South and Minister of State for Housing. He was the second biggest financier of the conference. Minister Engola donated three million shillings cash towards the arrangement.
He is one of those very few politicians that respect and protect their cultural heritage without fear or favour unlike some other politicians who do not even want their colleagues to know they are Lango by tribe.
Whenever he is coming to Lango, Minister Engola always ensures he visits Won Nyaci at his Teboke Palace. We now know that Minister Engola never spends a weekend in Lango without visiting the traditional leader.
Daniel Omara Atubu: He is the former Lands Minister, former Mp Otuke County and the clan leader of Otengoro. Being a senior lawyer, Omara exhibited high love for his culture during the conference since he attended it fully and facilitated various sessions. He has been highly critical of those who were bent on derailing the conference.
Julius Peter Odwee: He is the former Deputy Inspector General of Police who retired some years back. During the conference, Odwee presented the history of Lango tribe from Abyssinia where they are believed to have come from about 300 years ago. He is one of the few sons of Lango that are well versed with the history of Lango and has written a book on the subject.
Bishop John Charles Odur Kami: He is the Bishop of Lango Diocese and has been very close to issues of culture. He was the single harmonising personality in the run up to the conference. At one point when Ogole’s group had properly advanced against the paramount chief Yocam Odur, Bishop Kami took charge of the situation and held several reconciliation meetings between the Lango Cultural Foundation and the hostile side.
Robert Olet Egwea: He was the brain behind Lango Diaspora Conference 2007 that brought together Lango leaders and professionals from around the globe to discuss the development of Lango in London for the first time. During preparations for Lango conference 2012 he was a member of the steering committee and also presented a paper at the conference.
He is a London-based veteran journalist who spearheaded information and publicity especially in the Diaspora and came up with a sensational counter-propaganda strategy when opposition-leaning members of the Lango community tried to derail the conference using a previously unknown Ogole’s LEC.
On realizing that Ogole’s group was swiftly moving to block the conference, Egwea decided to reactivate a twenty-year old story from the time when Ogole was known to be recruiting rebels to overthrow Museveni’s government. The trend of debate and thinking on local radio stations against the conference swiftly changed, thanks to Egwea’s witty move.
However, Olet Egwea has now apologised to Ogole and other people for any inconveniences caused. He regrets challenging a Lango elder so openly because it goes against Lango cultural norms. He wants a truth and reconciliation exercise in Lango so as to depolarise the people who are now so divided due to acrimonious partisan politics.