Chope / Bachope / Paluo

The Chope, also called Paluo, and sometimes called Bachope, are a tribe in North-western Uganda along Victoria Nile, north west of Lake Kyoga.

There are 34,327 Chope (2014 census) in Uganda. The Chope are mainly found in Kiryandongo district.

The Chope language is called "Palou".

The Chope belong to the Nilotic ethnic group. They are part of the Luo people who originated from Bar-el Gazel in South Sudan to Northern Uganda during the 16th century Luo migration. From Northern Uganda, the Chope separated from their Luo counterparts (Acholi) and moved south to present-day Kiryandongo district in Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom (North western Uganda).


Legend and history

According to legend, the Chope's movement to Bunyoro- Kitara Kingdom was as a result of a kingship vacuum that was created in Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom when the kingdom's then rulers called the Bachwezi, left mysteriously without a heir. Before the Bachwezi rulers left Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom, a Chwezi prince who was a brother to the king of Bunyoro-Kitara at the time, married a Luo woman from Northern Uganda. This prince was called Omucwezi Kyomya, a brother to then king: Omukama Omucwezi Ndahura.
When the Bachwezi rulers left Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom without a heir to succeed them, the elders who were left behind in the kingdom went to northern Uganda to get the eldest son of Prince Kyomya, called Isingoma Mpuuga Rukidi (Lakidi), to crown him king of Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom. Isingoma Mpuuga and his brothers were living with their Luo mother in Northern Uganda.
A Luo delegation from Northern Uganda accompanied Isingoma Mpuuga Rukidi and his three brothers to Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom to take part in his crowning ceremony. It's said that when this delegation arrived in present-day Kiryandongo district (formerly part of Masindi) in Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom, they made a stop to rest. It's this delegation that become the Chope tribe in Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom.
The Chope intermarried with the Bantu in Bunyoro creating a mixture of Bantu and Nilotic people, some of whom are said to be the Bagungu tribe who live on the eastern shores of Lake Albert in Buliisa district. They adopted the culture of the Banyoro (Bantu) while retaining part of the Luo (Nilotic) culture. The Chope belong to Chope región under Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom led by an Omukama (King). The current Omukama is: Omukama Agutamba Solomon Gafabusa Iguru I.



The Chope are agricultural people. They farm millet, sorghum, cassava, maize, sweet potatoes, and vegetables. Their staple food is Millet, Cassava, and Sweet Potatoes. Millet is called "Kal", Cassava - "Muhogo", Sweet Potatoes - "Chara". From millet flour, millet bread is made. These foods are eaten with "Murangwa" (Beans). Millet or Maize is used to make a drink called "Kwete", and Cassava is used to make a drink called "Nguli".


Dress Code

The Chope dress code is traditionally: backcloth (adopted from the Banyoro Bantu), and animal skin (original Nilotic dress code). The animal skin dress code is called "Cheno".



The Chope have a number of dances which include: Bwola dance, Opere dance, Otóle dance, and Runyege-Ntogoro dance. Bwola dance is a royal dance, Opere dance is a celebration dance after a good harvest and good times. Otóle dance is a warrior dance. Runyege-Ntogoro dance is a courtship dance which they adopted from the Banyoro.