Call for wisdom as search for Iteso King begins

Iteso Cultural Union (ICU) Council Chairman Paul Sande Emolot and former Teso South MP Mary Emaase during the burial of Emorimor Augustine Lemukol Osuban in Uganda [Benard Lusigi, Standard]

Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong has urged Iteso Cultural Union (ICU) leadership to prioritise experience in picking a successor to their cultural leader Emorimor Augustine Lemukol Osuban.

Papa Emorimor, who had subjects in Kenya and Uganda, was buried on Saturday at Serere in Eastern Uganda.

Addressing journalists yesterday, Ojaamong said the seat of Emorimor was a unifying factor to about 7 million Iteso communities in Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Southern Sudan. 

“ICU should use wisdom in identifying Papa Emorimor’s successor, and the criteria should not necessarily be based on regional balance but individual leader’s experience so that we can steer the community to greater heights,” said the governor.

The iconic Iteso King successor debate has elicited mixed reactions with members of the Iteso community in Kenya suggesting that the next Emorimor should come from regions that have not produced a cultural leader since its inception in 1993 as per the Union’s constitution.

Article 13 (a) of the Iteso Cultural Union Constitution states that the election of His Highness Emorimor Papa Iteso shall be by delegates in the Conference of the Union on rotational basis from any of the four regions taking into consideration already represented region(s).

The regions that make up ICU from Uganda include; Amuria, Kaberamaido, Kapelebyong, Katakwi and Soroti, Bukedea, Butebo, Kumi, Mbale, Ngora, Pallisa and Serere, Bugiri, Manafwa, Mayuge, Namayinho and Tororo, while in Busia (Kenya) areas include; Cheptais, Matayos, Mt Elgon, Nambale, Teso North and Teso South.

Papyrus Imodot, the founder of Iteso Cultural Union and the first Paramount Chief of Ateker People hails from Amuria in the Northern Region while the late Emorimor Osuban hailed from Serere in the Central region.

Imodot became the paramount chief of Iteso in 1994 in the wake of the Uganda People’s Army war and reigned up to 2000 when he was replaced by Augustine Osuban Lemukol.

The Iteso Cultural Union Council which comprises over 500 delegates drawn from Uganda, Kenya and the diaspora will elect the leader’s substantive successor.