A Successful Mato Oput

July, 2011

By Okot Denis Michael, Project Officer, SCORP

This past July 7th proved to be a very colorful and eventful day for the clans of Palaro and Kal Odoko Taya in Binya Parish, Odek sub-county.  Sometime ago, a daughter from the Kal Odoko Taya clan brutally murdered her co-wife.   Anek, the victim, was from the Palaro clan and shared a husband with her attacker. While Anek was sleeping in her hut, the attacker entered and cut off her head with an axe.  Anek died instantly at the scene on that rainy day.


This killing ignited a great deal of hatred between the two clans and immediately security personnel stepped in to see that justice was done.  However, after a short time it became apparent that nothing good was coming out of the security personnel’s intervention. Accordingly, the clan of Palaro, whose daughter had been killed, decided to try an alternative route and bring the case before the traditional chief.  Accepting the case, the Rwot Kwaro called for a meeting with the two clans at which it was established that the killing was intentional. In light of this, the Rwot Kwaro and his team ruled that the clan of Kal Odoko Taya should pay a compensation of 10 heads of cattle or 50,000 shillings per cow. The clan of Kal Odoko Taya, however, remained unsatisfied with this ruling, arguing that the killing was unintentional.


At an apparent impasse, a leader from the Palaro clan heard of ARLPI’s Community Reconciliation Promoter (CORP) in Palaro parish, a Mr. Okello Marino Otit.  Owing to Mr. Otit’s experience with intervening and mediating such cases, he was asked to take part in the case’s ongoing negotiation. After familiarizing himself with the case, Mr. Otit called in his CORP counterpart from Binya parish, where the attacker comes from. The two CORP’s then jointly met with the two clans and eventually helped them both reach a compromise in which the clan of Kal Odoko Taya accepted the intentional nature of the crime and agreed to pay appropriate compensation to the Palaro clan.


In the end, all the compensation demanded by the Palaro clan was paid by the Kal Odoko Taya clan and, on 7th July, 2011, a mato oput ceremony took place between the two clans. With 31 people in attendance, the ceremony went smoothly and today the two clans are living in peace again. The witnesses who attended the ceremony all voiced their appreciation for ARLPI’s training of Community Reconciliation Promoters.  These CORP’s, it was said, are playing a pivotal role in resolving many disputes within Odek sub-county.