President Yoweri Museveni has appealed to the cultural leaders to desist from forming alternative governments in their communities.
Instead, he asked them to play their role of adding value to Uganda.
He was speaking during a requiem mass held for the late Augustine Osuban Lemukol, the Emorimor of Teso, who died on February 5, at Mulago Hospital.
Vice President, Jesca Alupo, Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny Dollo and several cabinet ministers attended mass presided over by Msgr. Gerard Kalumba of Christ the King Church, Kampala.
Addressing mourners, Museveni saluted the role of Teso Cultural Institution in particular and other cultural institutions in Uganda for promoting unity and culture that has contributed to the development of Uganda.
“I am here to say goodbye to Mzee Osuban, but most importantly, to bear testimony to his contribution, which others can emulate. Do not form an alternative government; your role is to add value to Uganda, which is coming up,” Museveni said.
He said that the problem of Africa has never been anything else but, rather, poor governance.
He said that Uganda is on a long journey of development and whatever government does is deliberate and well thought out.
“If you are going to help us in the three areas, we are going to work with you. When we restored the cultural institutions, our analysis was, if they are used properly, they can play a contributory role,” he said.
The President also saluted the cultural institutions for promoting culture and language.
“These cultural institutions can help us connect with our other people in different countries. This is why we restored these cultural institutions,” he said.
The President commended the late Emorimor Osuban for uniting the people of Teso in Uganda and others living in countries like Kenya, South Sudan, and Ethiopia.
“He played his roles very well. He united his people the Iteso, not only the Iteso of Uganda but also the ones in Pallisa, Bukedi, Tororo, and even in Kenya, Ethiopia, etc,” he said.
On the issue of development, Museveni saluted the late Emorimor for working towards developing his community in particular and Uganda in general.
“I have never heard that Mzee Osuban was meddling in these issues of politics, legislation, etc. I express my condolence to the family, the Iteso community, and all Ugandans and wish him eternal rest in the afterlife,” the President condoled.
On behalf of his siblings, Francis Osuban thanked the President for according their father an official burial.
“Daddy was the humblest and intelligent down-to-earth father. The home was open to anyone and everyone. He was a good listener who accorded everyone a listening ear. He had a great sense of humor that relaxed everyone, and he always emphasized the importance of family and its structures as fundamental units for growth,” he said.
The Vice President, Alupo, commended Museveni for restoring the cultural institutions which have played a big development role.
She appealed to cultural leaders to reciprocate affirmative support to promote the government’s socio-economic transformation programmes.
Betty Amongi, the minister of gender, labour, and social development said Osuban worked closely with her ministry on ending child marriages, child pregnancies, gender-based violence as well as female genital mutilation.
She appealed to cultural leaders to emulate his character of tolerance and co-existence and to use their association to strengthen frameworks that can be used to resolve disputes.
Delivering the day's homily, Msgr. Kalumba said the Emorimor led a life of a believer.
Kalumba urged the Christians to strive to live a blameless life.
“Osuban has died at a fairly old age of 88. However, it is not long age that is important but rather a blameless life,” he said, adding that where we fall short, we pray and seek God's mercy and forgiveness.
Born on August 12, 1934, to the late Isirairi Okalebo, the late Emorimor Papa Iteso Lemukol was a retired professional Agricultural specialist with vast experience in Agronomy, Agricultural policy, and Agricultural institutions.
In 1998, Lemukol was elected unopposed by over 2000 delegates from Teso- Uganda and Teso Kenya during a delegates conference held in Soroti to become Emorimor Papa Iteso, a position he has held till death.
Emorimor is a traditional cultural office that has been in existence amongst the Iteso from time immemorial. The main responsibility of Emorimor is to nurture all Iteso to ensure that the value system they observe is protected and promoted. The holder of the revered portfolio ensures that unity and harmony prevail amongst the Iteso and their neighbours.