Representatives of the Elders Council appoint Peter Adei as Interim Karamoja Cultural Leader
Moroto, Uganda – In an unprecedented move, the Karamoja sub-region has designated a cultural leader for the first time in its history. Prior to this appointment, the Elder’s Council held the supreme authority over cultural matters within the region.
The newly established Karamoja Cultural Leader, who will be recognized as Papaa Angasuban, was chosen by representatives from various districts across the region. Each district dispatched two representatives to the meeting, where 81-year-old Peter Adei, hailing from Abim district, was appointed as the Interim Cultural Leader. Furthermore, they selected the cow as the symbol of the cultural institution to symbolize unity.
Mr. Adei, now the Interim Karamoja Cultural Leader, has pledged to unite the different clusters of Karamoja and advocate for strategies aimed at the development of the region and its people. He emphasized that disunity among the Karimojong communities across the nine districts has been a major hindrance to progress.
Papaa Adei underscored that issues such as insecurity have endured because the government overlooked the role of the Elders in the disarmament process, even though they are central to decision-making in the region. He also expressed concerns about the proliferation of cultural associations in Karamoja, often lacking a clear vision and driven by self-interest advocacy.
Mark Ilukol, Advisor to the Elder’s Council, disclosed that the Karimojong communities in the nine districts will be organized into clusters with representatives in the central council, operating under Ugandan laws. Additionally, each district will establish an Elder’s Cultural Council, comprising respected elders from traditional shrines known as “Akiriket.” These district councils will report to the Karamoja Central Council.
Matayo Lochoro Lochan, Chairperson of Kotido Elder’s Council, emphasized the need for the council to include representation for women and youth. He stressed that fostering development within the institution is impossible without the involvement of all community members. Lochan also revealed that the council’s objective is to improve the elders’ reputation and combat criminality, ultimately ensuring peace in the region.
Maj. Gen. Don Nabasa, the UPDF 3rd Division Commander, welcomed the elder’s initiative, recognizing its potential to restore peace in the region. He acknowledged the challenges faced by security forces in maintaining order, largely due to the motivation provided by elders blessing raiders. Maj. Gen. Nabasa also pledged to facilitate a visit for the elders to learn from the military and develop a mindset focused on progress.