Early this week, Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG) elected Hon. Okin Polly Phillip as its new Chairman.
Hon. Okin P.P is also an elected member of parliament for Chua West County, Kitgum District.
Besides, serving as the Vice Chairperson of the Committee on Local Government Accounts, Hon. Okin will have an uphill task to restore public confidence and cohesion in the current Acholi Parliamentary Group.
Acholi Parliamentary Group was formed in 1989 to address pressing issues that affected Acholi sub-region at the height of the Lord’s Resistance Army-LRA insurgency.
The group was essential in brokering peace to return in the region and it currently seeks to lobby for development for the Acholi people.
Bickering and personal vendetta is threatening to split the Acholi Parliamentary Group into two splinter groups.
One group is led by Hon. Odonga Otto, Aruu County Member of Parliament (MP) and the mainstream is led by Hon. Ogenga Latigo, Agago North Member of Parliament (MP)
As of 2018 out of the 25 members, nine had reportedly left the group and also withdrawn their monthly 200,000 shillings contribution to the group.
Historically, distinguished Acholi leaders were recognized for the position they took while representing the interest and aspirations of their people.
Ironically, Acholi leaders today are known for their wealth accumulated while in office than causes and ideas they identify with to lead their people.
While past Acholi leaders were selfless, our current leaders are so selfish that they would ask their mothers to strip naked to defend their land but be the first to receive compensation for the same land before their mothers are even dressed.
Distinguished Acholi leaders like Arch Bishop Janani Loum were known for their honesty as a leading voice of the voiceless in criticizing the excesses of President Idi Amin’s regime as he protested against the policies of arbitrary killings and unexplained disappearances of civilians and soldiers.
The death of political leaders like Tiberio Okeny Atwoma, signaled one of the last phases in the end of a golden era of some of the best politicians the Acholi has ever seen. He is remembered as the ‘bulldozer’ who valued human rights.
He is seen by many observers as a hardworking, transparent and honest man who stood his ground no matter the circumstances, to see that human rights are observed.
Cultural leaders like the late Rwot Justine Acana I, the Rwot Payira of Acholi (head of Acholi clan chiefs) left a legendary legacy for protecting land rights of his people at great peril but remained firm even before the adversity of the colonial powers.
So how are we going to remember Acholi leaders of today? Will we remember them for their hotels or the size of the cars they drive?
When shall we see our leaders representing us and still believe they are genuine and not just political merchants bargaining against us behind closed doors where our pedestrian eyes can’t see?
Hon. Okin PP, this is the team you lead today. It is an insurmountable task as we see today and so did the task the great Acholi leaders that I referred to faced in their time.
Hon. Okin PP your election as evidenced on social media brings us a ray of hope that the real purpose of Acholi Parliamentary Group as designed by its founders may take a new trajectory of progress towards Unity and Development.
May the wisdom and intelligence of our forefathers like Tiberio Okeny, who also represented Chua constituency in the 1994 Constituency Assembly that paved the way for the making of the 1995 Uganda Constitution,inspire you to lead Acholi Parliamentary Group to unity and progress of their people.
As you lead Acholi arm yourself with tolerance and endurance to back up the wisdom and intelligence that you have attained from the roots of our ancestry to be resilient as our torchbearer to flush the light of development and unity for Acholi to prosper.
The Acholi Agenda not designed by us but as set by the unique political circumstance we find ourselves in, is the land question in Acholi.
The fate of our land is our fate and that of our children. What you will do and how you will defend it and promote its access for use by our people to enhance development will be the hallmark of your legacy as a leader.
In your team are some great souls with clean hands and intentions, identify them; in your team are elders, tap from their wisdom; in your team are some successful political merchants, win their hearts and tap from their talents, put to good use their talents.
We hope with your leadership, Acholi will constructively engage government on land and the aspiration of the Acholi will be realized.