GULU – The sixth edition of the Acholi Cultural fiesta hangs in balance due to lack of the required resources to stage the annual event.
This year’s event will be organised under theme: Promoting Cultural Values for Economic Development.
Organisers had initially budgeted Ugx420m for the event, in the early stages, but Alex Oyet – the Coordinator, who doubles as Vice Chairperson of the in-charge committee revealed that only Ugx70m had been collected. The event is only a week away.
Oyet explained that the slow pace in raising the required funds was attributed to the effect of the covid-19 as well as the current economic downturn.
Gulu City, and not Kitgum Municipality, as was earlier planned, will host the event, scheduled for December 15-17, according the organisers.
Oyet said organisers were following up on pledges from individuals as well as institutions to support the function, even with limited funding.
The traditional fiesta attracts hundreds of people from the 54 clans within the sub-region – showcasing various Acholi dishes, attire and dances, and folklore amongst others.
A number of local musicians are also invited to entertain the revellers but, Oyet revealed that this year’s the artists might not feature due to lack of funds.
Over 100 members of the Luo community from South Sudan, Kenya, and the DR Congo are expected to attend the festival, according to Oyet, who stressed that the visitors might have to shoulder some of their costs – which stand will be required from officials from the various government ministries.
He said that groups that will have many members participating during the event such as dance troupes will be accommodated in public institutions such as schools, to cut the cost of hiring lodging.
The festival was launched by the Paramount Chief of the Acholi Rwot David Onen Acana II in 2017 to bring together the Acholi to celebrate their heritage and identity.
However, in 2020 and 2021, the festival was suspended due to restrictions on crowding necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The preparations resumed this year following the removal of meeting restrictions.
Additional reporting by URN