The outgoing cultural leader of the Bamasaba, the biggest tribe in Bugisu sub region, Umukuka Sir Bob Mushikori was nowhere to be seen as his successor, Jude Mike Mudoma officially assumed the throne at Mbale Sports Club on Saturday this week.
Mudoma was elected as the third Umukuka, by the parallel faction of Inzu Ya Masaba (Cultural institution) led by the embattled Speaker of Inzu Ya Masaba, Nelson Wedaira on August 8, in preparation for Mushikori’s exit, whose term of office expired on November 15.
Despite his lawful election, where 33 out of 49 heads of different Bamasaba clans who participated in the polls at Bungokho-Mutoto Sub County approving him, Mudoma’s election received opposition from the incumbent management who termed it unlawful, calling it ‘Just rumors’ due to divisions amongst themselves.
Geoffrey Wepondi, who is now perceived to be the former Secretary General of the Inzu Ya Bamasaba dismissed Mudoma’s election on grounds that it contravened a High Court Order that was issued in August maintaining the status quo.
“The rumour that Mr. Mike Jude Mudoma is the new Umukuka III is false and Inzu strongly denounces it, the Umukuka is elected and not imposed or selected,” Wepondi said in a statement issued shortly after Mudoma’s election.
On August 24, 2020, the Mbale High Court Resident Judge Jesse Byaruhanga issued a restraint order against all activities in connection to the election of Umukukha III.
The Court Order was in response to an application that had been filed by Geoffrey Wepondi, who sought an injunction to allow Court to hear an application that had earlier been filed by LCV Chairpersons from Bugisu region who were challenging the decision to exclude them from attending meetings for the election of the new Umukuka.
Prior to this, Police foiled Wedaira’s meeting that had been held at Malukhu in Mbale District in June, to search for the next Umukukha on grounds that they had flouted Covid-19 guidelines on public gathering.
It is not clear whether Mushikori will exit the throne after regarding his predecessor as an unlawfully elected leader but John Musila, who led the rituals of enthroning Mudoma noted that they were even late because the election had to be done in June this year.
After assuming the throne, Mudoma warned Mushikori against trying to cling onto power adding that there is no cultural institution that have two leaders.
“The Bamasaba must have only one Umukuka and whoever shall be an impostor, the law shall take its course, because the Bamasaba are entitled to having only one leader,” he said.
Asked why he decided to establish his offices in Mutoto not in Malukhu where his predecessor sits, Mudoma explained:
“Our cultural Centre is in Mutoto and my goal is to transform it into Cultural excellence and that is why I chose to sit within the area but that does not mean that we should have another Umukuka in Malukhu, that is our property thus only Inzu Ya Bamasaba officials are the only ones who are permitted to stay in there,”
He went on and promised to start by constructing a palace, which was one of the plans of his predecessor.
Mudoma will lead the over 50 clans, which trace their lineage from three historical men; Mwambu, Mubuya and Wanale, and these came up with the Bagisu people, who are predominant in the seven districts; Mbale, Sironko, Bulambuli, Manafwa, Namisindwa, Budadiri, Bududa that make up the region and Bagisu who live in the Western part of Kenya where they are referred to as the Babukusu.
The other candidates who lost the race to Mudoma during the polls were; Gregory Gidaguyi from Sulani clan, Amuram Wagabyalila from Halasi clan and Patrick Wamakuyu from the Laago clan. Wedaira noted that the names were presented to the cultural council, which approved Mudoma as the new head of Inzu Ya Masaba.