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The Iteso are a decentralized society which have historically been and are organised on family and clan systems. The Iteso did not have an overall cultural leader.

When the National Resistance Movement came to power in 1986, a constitutional making process commenced with the appointment of the Constitutional Review Commission chaired by Justice Benjamin Odoki in February 1989.

After 3 years of collecting views from across Uganda, the Commission produced a draft constitution. The draft constitution was debated by an elected Constituent Assembly in 1994 and in 1995, the constitution was adopted.

The constitution under Chapter 16, provides for Institution of Traditional or Cultural Leaders. Section 246 state,

“Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the institution of a traditional leader or cultural leader may exist in any area of Uganda in accordance with the culture, customs and traditions or wishes and aspirations of the people to whom it applies”.

Immediately after the adoption of the constitution on the 8th of October 1995, the Iteso started mobilising to have a traditional leader to unite a people that had suffered from 4 years of civil war from 1986 to 1990.

The architects of Teso Education Fund are: Alloch William Akol, Emasu Ogwela, Vance Omome, John Otuko, Nelson Enyegu, and Paphrus Imodot.

Over time, the historical members were joined by Source Opak, Kenneth Oluka, Charles Ocan, and Jonathan Maraka who were journalists in the Ateso local newspaper, Etop. Later, Mzee, John Amuriat, Stephen Enokokin, and Martin Edeku, among others, also joined.

The union of the Iteso was created to foster unity among, promote culture, and promote development of the nearly 4 million Iteso in Uganda, in Kenya and around the world.

After 4 years of mobilisation of the communities, agitation and engagement with the government authorities, and agreement on the name of the institution and name of the leader, the current Emorimor was elected unopposed in 1999.

After being elected, he could not be installed until he fulfils a traditional ceremony called Asapan – a traditional ceremony of graduating into ‘adulthood’ (coming off ‘youthful’ age).

After completing 5 months of Asapan, The Emorimor was eventually installed on the 20th April 2000 in a ceremony graced by the President of Uganda.

In 2011, the Parliament of Uganda passed a law called the Institution of Traditional or Cultural Leaders Act, 2011. The Act was signed into law by the President of Uganda on the 26th of February 2011.

The Act provides as follows,

“A traditional or cultural leader shall—promote and preserve the cultural values, norms and practices which enhance the dignity and wellbeing of the people where he or she is recognised as such; and promote the development, preservation and enrichment of all the people in the community where he or she is recognized as such”.

In terms of the structure of the institution, the clan heads constitute a clan council (parliament) under a speaker. The operations of the institution are managed by a cabinet led by the Ekirigi (Prime Minister) who reports to His Highness, The Emorimor who appoints the cabinet.

In the UK, The Emorimor appointed Uganda’s former ambassador to the European Union, Epolon Eliphaz Odeke to represent the Institution. This arrangement worked from the late 1990s to early 2000s.

On the 30th April 2017, The Emorimor appointed Epolon Michael Okwalinga-Emokol and Epolon Solomon Emong to represent the Institution in the UK and wider Europe.

On the 22nd of July 2017, the cultural ambassadors as well as the Institution were inaugurated. On the 22nd of September 2017, the two chiefs were initiated into their roles by The Emorimor who was represented by the then Ekirigi, Paul Sande Emolot.

On the 29th of May 2020, a new structure of Teso Education Fund was approved, and a chairman of the Governance Council and Executive Director appointed to lead the Institution.