Rwot Acana’s Strategic Blunder in Denouncing the Rocco Paco Initiative

Opinion is welcome, it save the ieas


Towards the end of last year, two eminent Acoli figures, Ambassador Olara Otunnu, and Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo, made an impassioned call for the Acoli people, both within Uganda and in the diaspora, to unite and revive the community’s former glory. This call culminated in the “Gurre me Pongdwongo” or the convocation of Pongdwongo, aiming to reverse the unfortunate decline of Acoli society.

Currently, the Acoli is experiencing a grave crisis marked by widespread societal collapse, described in the Lwo language as “Too Paco.” This decline manifests in two main ways: a significant loss of material well-being, which is measurable, and a deeper, more challenging collapse of intangible fundamentals such as spirit, outlook, attitudes, and values, leading to a profound moral and identity crisis.

Wod Pakele, Walter Akena standing up, file photo

Under the theme “Dyerre ki Ribbe pi laro Paco: Ka pe in ci anga?” the Rocco Paco Initiative focuses on reviving education, the environment, a culture of hard work, and mutual respect. The Initiative has rapidly gained traction as the most promising path to revitalize Acoli’s lost glory, achieving a level of unity that the 54 chiefdoms under Ker Kwaro Acoli have struggled to attain. Crucially, the Rocco PacoInitiative is non-political, nonpartisan, and non-denominational.

However, the Initiative coincided with escalating tensions within Ker Kwaro Acoli, led by Rwot David Onen Acana. A disagreement among the Acoli council of elders over the management of Ker Kwaro’s affairs led to a split, resulting in two factions: one led by Acana and another by Rwot Santo Apire. The Apire faction eventually dismissed Acana as Paramount Chief and elected Apire as Lawirwodi replacement.

Earlier this week, as the Apire faction advanced the election process for a new paramount chief, Rwot Acana convened a meeting with his loyalists. During this meeting, he accused Justice Owiny Dollo of using the Rocco Paco Initiative to destabilize Ker Kwaro Acoli. He further urged the Acoli people to reject the Initiative and refrain from supporting it in any way.

This move comes at a time when Acana is under significant threat of losing his seat as the Paramount Chief. Denouncing the Rocco PacoInitiative, which has been widely embraced by the Acoli, appears to be a strategic blunder that could further alienate him and erode public trust. Moreover, his denouncement is seen as an attack on Otunnu and Dollo, two highly respected figures within the Acoli community, including within Acana’s own Payira Chiefdom.

By rejecting the Rocco Paco Initiative, Acana seems to imply satisfaction with the current unfortunate status quo that the Initiative aims to reverse. This perception could expose Acana as out of touch with the responsibilities of a cultural leader, who should be the custodian of traditional values and the advocate for societal betterment.

In conclusion, Rwot Acana’s strategic mistake in denouncing the Rocco PacoInitiative and attacking Justice Owiny Dollo is likely to complicate his efforts to retain his position as the Acoli Paramount Chief. This misstep not only isolates him from a broadly supported movement but also diminishes his standing as a leader committed to the well-being of the Acoli people. Embracing the initiative, rather than opposing it, could have strengthened his leadership and demonstrated his dedication to reversing the decline of Acoli society.


By Walter Akena

Okeyo Payira, Kal

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