Acholi Paramount Chief Appoints New Prime Minister

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The Acholi Paramount Chief David Onen Acana II has appointed a new prime Minister to head the Acholi Cultural Institution, nearly 10 months after the position became vacant.

Michael Otim 53, a former Minister for Rehabilitation at the Acholi Cultural Institution was unveiled as the fourth Prime Minister on Friday at Ker Kwaro Acholi palace in Gulu City.

Okello Okuna, the spokesperson of the Acholi Cultural institution told journalists in a press briefing that Otim was appointed on April 1st on a three-year-term contract after being approved by the council of chiefs.

Otim replaces Ambrose Olaa who was sacked by Rwot Acana in July last year after eight years in office. Rwot Acana has also appointed two other people to deputize Otim. They are Walter Jok-kene and Martin Okumu, who have been appointed Deputy Prime Ministers in charge of Land and Finance respectively on a three-year term contract.

In his maiden speech, Otim noted that the new team has come up with a clear five-year strategic plan to revitalize the operation of the cultural institution.

He said among the areas the team will focus on is the strengthening of the secretariat to ensure there is a robust system for accountability.

Otim noted that they will also review the current policies in place at the Institution and fix the gaps if any loophole has been identified.

“We are already in the process of looking through the Ker Kwaro Acholi system and we shall put in place a robust system to ensure proper accountability for everything that we do in Ker Kwaro Acholi,” said Otim.

Martin Okumu, the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of finance, in a press statement, highlighted the team’s commitment to fostering peace, unity, development, and amicable resolutions of conflicts facing the cultural institution.

He also called on the people in the Acholi Sub-region to partner with Investors to increase land productivity instead of selling land cheaply.

According to Okumu, the community in Acholi can partner through the Uganda Investment Authority, the Ministry of Energy and Minerals Development, the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the District Councils, District Land Boards, Individual farmers, KKA, and can leaders.

“We recommend a win-win form of investments for our people and investments,” he said.

The appointment of the new top members of the Institution’s secretariat comes amidst an ongoing power row at the Acholi Cultural Institution.

In July last year, 15 clan chiefs out of the 57 chiefs under the Acholi Cultural Institution led by the Atiak Clan Chief Richard Santo Apire resolved to oust Rwot Acana from Office.

The Chiefs accused Rwot Acana of allegedly attempting to sell off a piece of land belonging to the cultural institution to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) at 2.5 billion Shillings, misuse of funds, incompetent leadership, and failure to introduce a constitution. Rwot Acana has however denied all the allegations.

Just last week, a team of elders and leaders from the Acholi Sub-region led by former Chua County Legislator John Livingstone Okello Okello passed a resolution calling on the government to halt the payment of emoluments to Rwot Acana until the impasse is resolved.

The elders who had formed a 15-man team of negotiators last year alleged their request to meet with Rwot Acana to resolve the power row was denied.

But the new secretariat has rubbished the allegations arguing that the team of elders has gone against the rule of natural justice by becoming arbitrators in a case where they have already taken sides.

About the new Premier Otim, was born on September 3rd, 1970, in Gulu District. He holds 18 years of work experience as a human rights and peace-building advocate working with grassroots communities in areas of economic empowerment, transitional justice, peace-building, human rights, and grant management.

Otim worked as Head of Office for the International Center for Transitional Justice, Co-founder of the Justice and Reconciliation Project, and Executive Director for the Welfare Fund for Children and Youth Uganda. He is currently working with the Ministry of Local Government at the Parish Development Model (PDM) secretariat.

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