RIP OULANYAH: West Nile MPs mourn Eloquent Parliament Speaker

DECEASED: Jacob L. Oulanyah (MP) Rt Hon Speaker of Parliament

Arua. The Members of Parliament (MPs) in the West Nile region have joined their colleagues in other parts of the country to mourn the departed Speaker of Parliament, Jacob L’Okori Oulanyah.

Oulanyah died in Seattle, Washington in the United States where he has been receiving treatment for close to a month.

His demise was on Sunday announced by President Yoweri Museveni in a tweet that took the nation by shock.

“Countrymen and Countrywomen. It is with a lot of sadness that I announce the death of the Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah, the Speaker of Parliament. I got information of this sad news at 10.30 am, East African time from People that have been with him and the doctor that was caring for him in the intensive care unit. He was a good Cadre. I delayed the announcement so that his children would be informed first,” Mr Museveni said.

Following the sad news, the MPs from West Nile led by their regional Chief Whip, Jackson Atima Lee Buti also the MP for Arua Central Division in Arua City eulogized the fallen Speaker describing him as a true patriot who will be missed by Ugandans.

“Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah loved all his Members of Parliament so much regardless of their party, regardless of where they come from. He looked at that Parliament as a Parliament of Uganda and he also looked at members as Members of Parliament as being for Uganda. You will see him moderating balanced debate without segregation,” Atima told journalists in Arua on Sunday.

“Oulanyah was a very lovely, friendly and down-to-earth Speaker. While in Parliament, everybody’s eyes would catch him, he would pick MPs regardless of who you are. In Parliament, he was so articulate, very brilliant and within a very short time, he understood what a Member of Parliament wants. He had very vast knowledge, he knew the law as a senior lawyer and that is what this country is going to miss,” Atima, a good friend of late Oulanyah said.

Atima noted that as MPs from Northern Uganda, all their hopes were based on Oulanyah little did they know that the Lord would call him this early.

He said the country has lost a Hero, an Icon, a father, a patriot, a nationalist and above all, a brother and prayed for his soul to rest in everlasting peace.

Ismail Ogama, the former Lower Madi County MP in Madi Okollo district said entire Uganda is in a total mood of sorrow upon the demise of Oulanyah.

West Nile MPs and NRM leaders pose for a photo moment with Oulanyah (seated 3L) during his last visit to the region on November 29, 2021. Seated (L) is Jackson Atima Lee Buti

“As you are all aware after the end of the LRA insurgency in the North, these are the people we the young generation were looking up to instil hope in us considering how far he has come from. You have known his political track record; from UPC, he crossed to NRM and everywhere he would go, there was always a mark. This is a man who would counsel you, we would have free access to him because he wasn’t a person who would segregate,” Ogama said.

“We were looking up to him. He was a timekeeper in Parliament, he has set the record. Every young person would imagine being like Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah. It is very painful, I know it’s a very challenging period for the 11th Parliament, for the Ugandan community and in particular the people of Northern Uganda and Omoro constituency in the Acholi sub-region. We just hope that the government will come up very quickly with a very constructive report to clear off some of the speculations which were already coming up,” Ogama stressed.

Mr Oulanyah was last seen in Parliament in December 2021 and by that time, he had only chaired a few sessions including the passing of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Bill, which permitted mid-term access to members’ savings. He was elected into the speakership position in May 2021.

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