Lango Paramount Chief Eng. Moses Odongo roots for unity in diversity for total healing and reconciliation 

LIKE the popular American TV host and comedian Broderick Stephen Harvey better known as ‘Steve Harvey’ once said that, “…you simply cannot drive forward if you are focused on what is happening on the rear view mirror…”, Ugandans must move forward as opposed to dwelling on petty differences and past historical mistakes.

The Lango Paramount Chief, known as Won Nyaci Me Lango-elect Eng Dr Michael Moses Odongo Okune, made the call at the 17th Provincial Prayer Peace Week organized by the Gulu Archdiocese in Gulu City.

He says the people of Northern Uganda and indeed Uganda as a nation must put their attention on wealth creation through a number of interventions so that people live in peace and harmony.

“…poverty does not know any religion, tribe or culture, it’s even blind to any political ideological orientation, so why should we waste a lot of time talking about our tribes, our religion or our party…”,Eng Dr Odongo Okune said in a rhetorical tone.

In his presentation based on the topic: “Journeying Together As A People of God in Participation for Peace, Valuing and Respecting Our Cultural Differences”, Eng. Dr. Michael Odongo Okune made a resounding speech that continues to reverberate in the minds of the people in the region.

Quoting classical philosophers and scriptures and parables to amplify his address, the acclaimed civil engineer-cum traditional leader urged leaders of all categories to recognize and respect Uganda’s diversity.

Like Mao Zedong, a Chinese politician and Marxist theorist who lived between 1893-1976 once said, “…let a hundred flowers bloom…” which in its original context meant a proper way of handling diversity and contradictions”, Eng Dr Michael Odongo Okune urged leaders to focus on confronting common challenges facing Ugandans.

“…while peace is the absence of conflict, this does not mean uniformity of thought, opinion or belonging, so let the religious and cultural as well as political parties appreciate this and focus more on socio-economic transformation…”,he appealed.

Conscious that among the audience included top religious leaders mainly from the Catholic and Anglican churches, Okune quoted from St Mark’s Gospel 9:38-41 to clarify that culture is not against Christianity or religion in any way.

To put it in perspective, in the gospel cited, Jesus Christ wanted his disciples to desist from the danger of exclusivity over unity because they were driven more by pride thus undermining others and branding them as ‘unqualified’ fellows.

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So, the Lango Cultural leader uses the statement to allay the widely-held view and fear that cultural institutions and their leaders are a contradiction to the teachings and values of Christianity.

He said the people in the region have experienced what he termed as ‘intra-community strife’, characterised by political instability, state inspired violence, insurgency, cattle rustling, HIV/AIDS and other related epidemics leading to poverty.

In addition, Eng Dr Odongo Okune mentioned land conflicts, family instability, religious rivalries, political disagreements, rivalries in cultural leadership, and economic hardship as issues that must be addressed using peaceful means.

People in the hall went silent when the Won Nyaci-elect listed another catalogue of issues like low school enrolment, youth delinquency especially in Lira City where a group of vagabonds have coined a title for themselves as “Owuwuk”(robbing any person that steps their way), environmental degradation, corruption and loan victims.

“…as cultural leaders lets preach and practice what we preach to the people, every awitong (clan chief)must have a four acre model farm, we must allow self-criticism, the church should correct way-ward cultural leaders because the culture of silence is dangerous…” ,he appealed.

Eng Dr Odongo Okune son of the former Minister and a respected and dedicated Ugandan economist William Okune (RIP) concluded his address by clarifying that contrary to some critics, cultural and religious leaders are not in competition with the state.

He says the state as a temporal authority needs partnership of cultural and religious leaders to lift the mass of people out of poverty and that the cultural and religious leaders should amplify development messages of the state to the grassroots.

Saying “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God”, Eng Dr Odongo Okune says the journey to peace requires patience, prayers and withstanding hardship and self sacrifice and everyone must play a role to achieve.

The Prayer Peace Week is an annual event of peace, pilgrimage, retreat and prayer that was initiated by the Gulu Ecclesiastical Province comprising Gulu archdiocese, Arua, Nebbi and Lira (GANAL) dioceses in 2005 with focus on bringing sustainable peace and unity among the different communities and tribes in the once-war-devastated Northern Uganda.

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The 17th edition of GANAL was under the theme: Building A Synodal Church On Communion, Participation and Mission” and spanned four days from 22 to 26 th April, 2024.

What You Need To Know:

A powerful team of experts comprising of university dons, lawyers, engineers, doctors, social scientists, journalists, business gurus, among others has been assembled and transformed into the National Organizing Committee for the Coronation of the Paramount Chief ( Won Nyaci Me Lango) Eng Dr Michael Moses Odongo Okune.

The Committee under the chairmanship of the Government Chief Whip Hon Denis Hamson Obua and deputized by the Maruzi County MP Maxwell Ebong Opeto Akora was officially unveiled in a launch ceremony held at the Lango Cultural Centre on 26 April, 2024.

Hon Denis Obua is also the MP Ajuri County in Alebtong District. He belongs to the Atek Okwerowee clan.

Hon Maxwell Akora belongs to the Oyima, a clan shared by the former President Dr Apollo Milton Obote.

A road map has been released with dozens of activities to be handled by the various sub committees leading up to the eventual coronation slated for 2nd November, 2024.

The Main Committee and the sub committees have less than 180 days to deliver the landmark task, the first of its kind that the people of Lango including children are eagerly awaiting to witness.

Considering the profile of the New Won Nyaci, a highly decorated and well travelled civil engineer, alongside the team put in place which has been described as crème de la crème, Ugandans in other parts of the country, especially the cultural institutions are also following with keen interests how the event will unfold.

The retiring Won Nyaci Mzee Yosam Odur Ebii has already abdicated his throne and will peacefully vacate on 1st November, 2024.

The post Lango Paramount Chief Eng. Moses Odongo roots for unity in diversity for total healing and reconciliation  appeared first on Watchdog Uganda.

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