Kiryandongo MP seeks constitutional recognition of Maragoli

Maragoli dance

The Kibanda South Member of Parliament (MP) in Kiryandongo District, Mr Jack Odur Lutanywa, has tabled before Parliament a Constitutional Amendment Bill seeking the recognition of the Maragoli as one of the indigenous tribes in Uganda.

Mr Lutanywa tabled the Bill for its first reading before a plenary session chaired by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga who then referred it to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for consideration. 

The object of the Bill seen is to amend the Third Schedule to the Constitution to include the Maragoli who settled in Uganda in the l9th Century as one of Uganda’s indigenous communities as at 1st February 1926.

The Maragoli community living in Kigumba, Kiryandongo district, Ntoma and other parts of Masindi district are a Kenyan tribe that left their homeland in the 1920s.

It is reported that they moved from Kenya after an agreement was reached at between Bunyoro -Kitara Kingdom and the then British colonial government and.

While being granted leave to present the constitutional amendment in February, Mr Lutanywa expressed concern that the Maragoli who have been in existence in Uganda was never included in the Third Schedule of the Constitution as one of the country’s indigenous communities.

He said that “the Maragoli have since the 1990s sought for the inclusion in the Constitution through petitions to MPs, ministers, different department ministries and the President.

The legislator disclosed that “there are more than 30,000 Maragoli in Kiryandongo district alone and these have suffered for a long time since they are not recognised, thus, cannot access some social services like acquiring National Identity Cards, process passports and bank accounts among others”.

In 2017, the National Identification Registration Agency (NIRA) held onto 15,000 national identity cards of members of the Maragoli community on grounds that they are not a recognised tribe in Uganda.

The Maragoli sometimes referred to as Logoli or AvaLogooli, is the second-largest tribe of the six million-strong Luhya community in Kenya, after the Bukusu.

They speak Llogoli, Urulogoli, or Maragoli. Some of the Maragoli clans include the Gonda, Mavi, Sachi, Saniaga, Vulughi, Ndega, Sari”, Ng’ang’ and Yonga.

Chapter three of Uganda’s 1995 Constitution provides for citizenship under Articles 9 to 19, where it provides for citizenship by birth, adoption, registration and naturalisation among others.

The Third Schedule to the constitution provides a list of 65 indigenous communities whose members qualify for citizenship by birth because such communities were living in Uganda as of February 1, 1926.

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