Patrick Ouma Lutwayi II is just three years and seven months old, but his self-comportment sets him apart from his agemates in his community.
On a Monday morning at their home in Tai Ocot village in Labongo Amida Sub-county, Kitgum District, Ouma is seated on a wooden chair under a tree in their family compound overlooking a walkway into their homestead. He cuts a tough look pose and is quite neat while his peers go about playing in the dirt.
His father Richard Ocaya tells Uganda Radio Network in an interview that his son’s characters have never been the same, nearly a year ago since he was appointed as a clan chief of Parakono sub-clan.
Ouma is the first in the Oceng lineage to inherit the Parakono sub-clan throne, in several years since the death of the once-powerful clan Chief Lutwayi I in the 1920s. Since then, the throne has been headed by caretakers until last year when Ouma was appointed as the legitimate clan chief in February.
Ocaya says he has since been preparing his son for his new roles by coaching him on the rich history of the Parakono sub-clan, and the Acholi people in particular.
I’m trying my best to teach him the Acholi tradition, every day at the fireplace, I tell him the history of his grandfather. Fortunately, he has shown a lot of interest. One fact I liked about him is that he doesn’t move anyhow, he is always at home and if there is a clan meeting, he is the first to remind me…,”
Ocaya notes that plans are already underway to crown Ouma as the clan chief adding that they are still mobilizing resources and liaising with the Acholi cultural institution.
Rose Aparo, Ouma’s mother welcomed the decision taken by the clan elders to appoint her son as a clan chief.
She however notes that her emphasis is to see Ouma supported with education to further shape his leadership role in the future. Aparo says the family is already facing financial challenges seeing him through the early stages of his education, something that scares her of his success.
when they appointed my son, I had no problem with it, it actually was a surprise to me to which I was happy. However, what I want is for him to study because his duties in the future require someone educated.”
Dr Jackson Oloya Nyeko, a parliamentary contestant in the Chua West Constituency has since pledged to pay for Ouma throughout his education.
Morris Otto, one of the subjects of Parakono sub-clan says he is happy that the clan has finally got its legitimate ruler after years of having caretakers.
“I am happy as a subject in this village to associate myself with the new clan leader. Me and my family will commit ourselves to work with him and his councils despite his young age,” Otto told URN on Monday.
Ker Kwaro Acholi Prime Minister Ambrose Olaa says he is unaware of the youngest clan chief since the cultural institution works closely with chiefdoms instead of sub-clan. There are 55 major recognized chiefdoms in Acholi with many more sub-clans throughout the eight districts in the region.
For now, since Ouma is still very young, he will be attending council meetings along with his elders but major decisions making concerning affairs of the sub-clans of Oceng, Kapori and Opon will be handled by the council of elders comprising eight members.