Parliament pays tribute to fallen Teso cultural leader Augustine Osuban Lemukol

Lawmakers have praised the late cultural leader, His Highness Emorimor Papa Iteso, Augustine Osuban Lemukol, as an icon of unity in Teso and Uganda.

In a special sitting to pay tribute to Emorimor Osuban Lemukol, the Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja moved a motion urging Parliament to recognise and appreciate the contribution and service that Emorimor Osuban Lemukol rendered to the people of Teso sub-region and Uganda.

Nabbanja said that Emorimor Osuban Lemukol was an advocate for peace and stability, who played a key role working with the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces and the Arrow Boys Auxiliary Force to defeat the Lord’s Resistance Army in the Teso sub-region.

“Emorimor Osuban Lemukol used his position as the lteso cultural leader to advocate for and promote moral and cultural values, unity and embracing government programmes amongst the lteso community,” said Nabbanja.

She said that his legacy will be an inspiration to many people.

The motion was later amended as moved by Hon Cecilia Ogwal, urging government to revive the Serere Agriculture Research Institute (SARI) in memory of Emorimor Osuban Lemukol who played an important role in the agriculture sector in the country.

The amendment which was unanimously adopted also urged government to fast track building of the official palace of Teso in memory of the Emorimor Osuban Lemukol.

“The Emorimor was not an ordinary person. He dedicated his life to ensure improved quality of agriculture production. It is disheartening that SARI is no longer vibrant,” Ogwal said.

Deputy Speaker, Anita Among described Emorimor Osuban Lemukol as hardworking, royal, disciplined, trustworthy and open minded.

 “He was a great advocate of unity for Teso and Uganda. The fights that used to be in Teso ceased. His devotion to preach morals and cultural value was immense and must be recognised,” said Among.

She urged leaders to emulate Emorimor Osuban Lemukol’s exemplary leadership style, saying that all leaders should strive to promote peace, unity, growth, and prosperity.

“A call for leadership is a call for unity, growth, and to inspire people under your charge. Let us leave Uganda a better Uganda, not one that people will regret being born in it,” Among said.

The Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah, in his message read by the Deputy Speaker described Emorimor Osuban Lemukol as a pillar of peace and a library of wisdom.

“The people of Teso are mourning, the nation is mourning and most of all, a kind-hearted leader. He will be remembered for his contribution towards a peaceful and prosperous people,” the message read.

The Leader of the Opposition, Hon Mathias Mpuuga, said that he attended several meetings in which the late cultural leader participated and he attests to his humility and intellect. 

“During our turbulent times whose hallmark is characterised by oppression, disappearance of citizens, and abductions because we disagree, the fallen statesman never wanted to be associated with such vices. He led his community back to unity and stability in times of strife.

He added that Emorimor Osuban Lemukol’s efforts to advocate for peace deserve to be pursued.

Hon David Livingstone Zijjan (Indep. Butembe County) said Emorimor Osuban Lemukol understood that he led beyond Teso and reached out to all regions.

“On 6 April 2016, while meeting LC5 Chairpersons of Teso region. In reference to uprisings in Kasese Kingdom, he asked his colleague to advocate for dialogue because the path of war is destructive. He understood the preciousness of peace across the nation,” said Zijjan.

The Vice President, Jessica Alupo, said Emorimor Osuban Lemukol understood the advantage of culture and that is why he was elected unopposed and served for 23 years.

Members of Parliament at the special sitting dressed in Iteso cultural garb

“He knew that a cultural leader was never supposed to involve himself in controversy but rather focus on ensuring that his people benefit from government programs,” said Alupo.

The Government Chief Whip, Hon Thomas Tayeebwa, said Emorimor Osuban Lemukol was a nationalist, who supported government programs and asked all leaders to emulate this.

“He knew that government was a partner and never attempted to compete with government. I never had any politician complaining that he was not welcomed in Teso, we never had any situation where you could say that Teso institution was involved in politics,” Tayeebwa said.

He pledged support from the NRM caucus towards the construction of the palace.

The Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Betty Amongi, blamed the delay in construction of a palace for Teso to the absence of land.

“We have recently been notified that the Iteso Cultural Union has acquired a land title and now we await an official request from the institution so we can start constructing the palace. We welcome the idea,” said Amongi.

She also joined her colleagues in recognising the contributions made by the Emorimor, saying that he determined the flag of Teso.

“He was instrumental in the formulation of the Iteso constitution, anthem and logo. There is no cultural institution which can operate under the gender Ministry without a constitution,” said Amongi.

The Minister of State Teso Affairs, Clement Ongalo-Obote, said that if the Government cannot take care of cultural institutions, then there should be no pretense of having them.

“The Emorimor worked from his home for 23 years.  He has been holding the people of Teso together by his sheer will. We need to face the reality or the sacrifice of this man will be in vain,” Ongalo-Obote said.

The debate on the motion lasted almost three hours, with speaker after speaker praising Emorimor Osuban Lemukol for promoting peace and unity in the whole country. 

Emorimor Osuban Lemukol died on 5 February 2022 at Mulago National Referral Hospital.

He was born in 1934 and was enthroned in April 2000.  He served as Commissioner in the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry until his retirement in 1979.

He also served on several boards including Kinyara Sugar Works, Uganda Tea Growers Corporation, Produce Marketing Board and Uganda Medical Stores from 1989 to 1998.

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