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Acholi Chiefs Demand For Monthly Salary From Gov’t

A section of Acholi cultural chiefs has petitioned President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni demanding monthly emoluments. The chiefs under Ker Kwaro Acholi alias the Acholi Cultural Institution, say that whereas other cultural heads are getting monthly payments from the government, they have been neglected yet they play the same role in the community.

Presenting their petition to Bosco Olak, the Northern Uganda Presidential Coordinator in Gulu city on Friday, the chiefs said that a monthly salary ranging from between Shillings 500,000 to one million will help improve their livelihood.

Kenneth Wellington P’Achire, the Prime Minister Padibe Chiefdom in Lamwo District, said that monthly payments to cultural chiefs in the region will help to uplift their socio-economic status, saying that the majority are old and unable to do odd jobs.

He said that the government through the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development should consider enrolling cultural chiefs the same way it’s supporting the elderly persons under Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE).

Francis Apwa Orik from Pader Ker Kwaro in Pader District said that monthly support to cultural chiefs will boost their efforts in mobilizing their subjects to support the government programs. Orik said that unlike in the past when cultural chiefs had abundant resources including gifts from their subjects that enabled them to live a decent life, the trend has changed with the ever-growing economic crisis.

“We lived a good life in the past, we had the resources and the community used to donate to us. This is no longer the case and we call on the government to consider supporting us with a monthly stipend,” said Orik.

The Deputy Paramount Chief of Acholi Rwot Otinga Atuka Otto Yai said that cultural chiefs in Acholi are facing hardship leading their subjects because of their poor financial status. Otinga said that cultural leaders in other regions are respected because of the resources they have, arguing that the ones in Acholi don’t command similar respect since they don’t receive the same consideration from the government.

Otinga said that all cultural leaders must get support from the government unlike the elective payments being given to cultural heads.

Otinga notes that they are demanding to meet the president in person to present their plight and grievances. Besides payment of the monthly stipend, the cultural chiefs have also petitioned the president to support them with motorcycles to ease their transport, oxen, and ox-plow for agriculture, health insurance, and construction of a Palace for all chiefs in the region.

Olak told Uganda Radio Network in an interview that he will take the petition to the president, adding that he expects the President to give feedback on their demands. This is the second time the Acholi chiefs are petitioning the President to demand payment of monthly salaries. On April 30, 2019, the clan chiefs wrote a petition to the president on the same demands but got no responses.

Acholi Sub-region comprises 56 chiefdoms that are headed by the Paramount Chief David Onen Acana II. In February this year, Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja told Parliament that the government was considering paying all cultural institutions Shillings 60 million monthly.

URN

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