By Rt. Hon. Prince Wathum Edwin Djalkwiyu (Alur Kingdom)
Allow me send my greetings to all of you great Lwo people out there. I am a Lwo Atyak-’Alur’ (a nick-name rarely associated with) by tribe , a Lecturer in Cultural Studies at Kyambogo University- Uganda & a Prime Minister of Alur Kingdom (by birth), which King Nyipir founded in 1390 A.D; King Nyipir a brother to Prince Nyabongo(Labongo)who was his prime minister then and the later a founder of Ker Kwaro Acholi of Uganda today. Iam also an addicted reader of the Lwo history and above all maintainer of the Lwo culture which is my role in the Kingdom. Alur Kingdom is one of the sixth constitutionally recognized Kingdoms in Uganda: Alur, Buganda, Bunyoro, Busoga, Tooro & Rwenzoruru. The Chiefdoms are:Acholi, Lango, Buruli, Teso, Adhola and Kooki.
However, so many authors have been advancing their theories about the Lwo people in general and majority of them even would bet their precious heads that theirs are Gospel truth of the great Lwo Atyak people. Indeed there are some notable scholars from the West and our own indigenous bright fellows who have done researches on the Lwo people and may be right somewhere and wrong too. You don’t write a history by setelite but through contact with the community with whom there is sharing of a common goal. You can’t complete history of the Lwo with ease since it is a complete nexus. When I read all of them, I get perturbed about the erroneous distortion of historical facts especially by overzealous writers. who should be believed?
All African histories starts first from grounded oral narratives and then transcends to write ups. So who is mandated to tell truth about the Lwo and their historiography? In my wisdom it is the keepers of the Lwo culture:- the Kings, Chiefs, elders and researchers not the post Obama’s election Lwo maniacs who iconise that this great leader is a Lwo and surmise history of his people starts with him. Imagine how many distorted histories of Lwo has been flooded in the social domain. Hope mine is not!! I like the popularization of the Lwo but should be factual. The cultural leaders are the ones so powerful in transmitting traditional facts through oral history and sometimes textual sourses and not piecing up materials from internet albeit remote from the authentic Lwo people embeded deep in villages thinking that we shall be convinced.
Every community all over the world have leaders or rulers and their coming or ceasing to exist is very important here. One should ask a question ,why is it that some Lwo ethnic groups have no Kings or Paramount chiefs but clan heads? The answer is that there was a curse by King Ulwo Atyak meant to live with us about anybody grabbing or starting a parallel kingdom and secondly that there is a prevailing respect for the ancestral royal spear head wherever it could be. The Lwo are very good at ancestor worship up to today and fear spirits of the living dead most.The elders know about the curse through oral history and make sure there don’t do the contrary as rulership is concerned. There are reasons for that..and having a ruler or not having is only a content in our oral history that can tell why.
In a nut shell, the Lwo political structure is guided by what we call the ROYAL SPEAR HEAD which is handed down to the right heir of the throne & that is why there is always one holder of the royal spearhead. The leadership structure should be as follows: King (Ubumu), Paramount Chief/chief elder of elders (rwoth ma dit), Chief (wroth),clan head (jagoo)and family head.
Only the Choope (Palwo) of northern Uganda have been proved without doubt for being naturally gifted in orating the Lwo royal genelogy without distortion because traditionally that was their role. They are the followers of prince Nyangan of the Lwo Atyak before a major separation at Karuma- Uganda which yielded the Kenyan Lwo.
So all is said about Bahrelghazal too but in reality, where did the Lwo settle before Arab invasion of Europe and northern Africa? Proven, the first area of settlement was in Aswan under King Ngur I who started the Nuer Kingdom (Rev. Fr. Crazzolara Paskwale- 1950). His book ‘The Lwo Tradition’ is a must read. Another book to read is by Aiden 1956 on Alur Society. All these writers are renowned anthropologists.
Actually before King Ngur I established himself in Aswan area, oral history has it that the Nuer who yielded the Lwo came from Aran, a place in the Middle, East majorly under King Kwac. The Arabs invaded the Nuer under king Rubanga in around 970 AD and converted many north Africans to Islam. It was King Rubanga, a Nuer then who moved with his people to Wau, Barhelgazal southern Sudan. His son Ulwo Atyak who inherited the throne in about 1010 AD occupied the entire region. This is where most writers starts their theories because retrospective histories become flimsy.
In the Lwo royal history, there were two powerful queens; Angom (890-930 AD) and Nyilak 1365-390.
It is also a hidden fact that most Lwo ethnic stock know that their ROYAL SPEAR HEAD is in Uganda and obviously in Alur Kingdom. How it changed course to them is so dubious.It was actually to be for prince Rukidi who ran to Bunyoro in fear of his murderous step-brother Kyabambi who became king of the Lwo Atyak by force.
The name Lwo/Luo came from King Uluo Atyak who had many descendants almost allover southern Sudan. When they were again attacked by the Arabs, moved south-eastward to Gondokoro under leadership of King Utike. (The name Okoro from Gondokoro and Atyak from king Ulwo Atyak are henceforth very common to the Lwo spiritual places).
Again the Arabs followed them there, forcing them to dispersed in all direction. This was during the reign of king Cimvor in about 1170-1210 AD. After their defeat by Arabs, Cimvor cursed that no Lwo muslem person in future would be in the throne and hold the royal spear head as King and up to today its being followed. Gondokoro Probably is where the Anuak got a chance to move eastward to Ethiopia because of Arab invasion. Others went back via Wau to Central Africa, Cameroon and probably to Nigeria.
Like in Kenya, the Lwo in Nigeria are said to have also maintained their culture, esp. naming that starts with letter ‘O’ (further research is needed). The first King to arrive in northern Uganda was Atira who for the first time encountered a bush of vegetation. He liked what he saw and his followers named the place Bunga-Atira (THE BUSH OF ATIRA) which is in Acholiland today. So far, three Lwo kings were buried there: Atira- 1250, Chuwa-1290 (influenced the banyoro and Baganda most)and Ulei- 1332 AD.
The second last king of the Lwo Atyak people was Kyabambi Ulum 1332-1390. He grabbed the royal spear head by force from his step brother Rikiidi whose mother was a munyoro. His father king Ulei had the following sons who ran away with followers from Kyabambi; prince Ukumu who led the Kumam,prince Owiny Ramogi started the Kenyan Lwo, prince Onongor Adhola of Jupadhola, prince Kadhirondi (sold as a slave to a TZ master) of the now Kavirondo and Rukiidi whose daughter Nyathwol married Kyomya of a Bunyoro clan. Few historians know this is where history of the Lwo disintergration took place around Karuma falls. King Kyabambi killed most of his brothers and the Lwo kingdom disintergrated but not with the royal spear head. After King Kyabambi came his daughter princess Nyilak 1365-1390. She gave birth to triplets: Nyipir, Nyabongo (Labongo)and Thiful.
After the separation at Pakwach Nyabongo went and formed the Acholi chiefdom, Nyipir crossed the Nile westward and with the Lwo royal spearhead handed to him by his mother Queen Nyilak formed the Alur Kingdom and Prince Thiful went towards Arua (terego) and crossed to Congo. His descendants are the Nyiganda and Angal. The Junam are also descendants of Kyabambi (Kwonga & chuwa) who went and settled in Bunyoroland. They were repelled by the Bunyoro-Bacwezi revolution against the Lwo in 17th century. Many of them crossed to DRCongo and got assimilated by the Alur of Nyipir, for example the Mukambu, Jukoth etc. West Nile region of became part of Uganda in 1914. I find the history of the Kenyan Lwo being very accurate except that mention of which clan is the leader of all the mentioned. There should be a leading royal clan among the Jalwos.
This is my brief Lwo history of the royal lineage that readers may not know. Had it not been because of King Kyabambi, the Lwo today would be having an Empire like that of West Africa not a Kingdom. This is a non contestable fact.
The lineage goes as follows:
-King Ngur I: Aswan Egypt- 850-890
-Queen Angom: Aswan Egypt -890-930
-King Ngur II: Aswan Egypt -930-970
King Ulwo Atyak :
NUER KINGDOM ENDED HERE
King Alu: = Gondokoro-1130-1170
King Cimvor: = Gondokoro-1170-1210
Pajule -1365- 1390
END OF LWO ATYAK
kING Nyipir: Locjudongo-1390-1490
King Okwir: Locjudongo-1510-1550
King Ngira I: Locjudongo-1550-1590
King OmyerDhyang: Nebbi 1590-1630
King Ngira II:
King Ogena: Owilo (DRC) 1820- 1825
King Nziri: Atyak 1825-1865
King Amula: Atyak 1890-1941
King Jalusiga: Atyak 1941-1978
King Jobi Valente: Atyak 1978-2000
King Philip Olarker: Current 2000
ALUR KINGDOM CURRENTLY