“Obore says no single coin has come from State House to fund Oulanyah burial preparations despite this being a state burial which falls under its docket”
The Director of Communications and Public Affairs at Parliament, Chris Obore has lamented that the treatment and later death of former Speaker Oulanyah has left the legislature economically incapacitated and the institution is now at the mercy of its service providers.
Obore made the shocking revelation in an interview with Journalists at Parliament ahead of the special sitting that will be held to allow MPs pay tribute to the fallen Speaker who passed on in Seattle-USA to undisclosed illness on 20th March 2022.
He said: “We don’t have the money. If the money comes in terms of organization, we are more than ready, the issue is, where is the money? Parliament is running dry and yet the public out believes there is money in Parliament. We don’t have the money, we are operating on the goodwill of the service providers.”
Obore’s remarks come at the time media reports indicated that Parliament chartered one of the planes owned by Uganda Airlines to transport Oulanyah for treatment in USA, a trip that cost taxpayers Shs1.7Bn.
Although Obore didn’t put a figure to the cost Parliament has spent on Oulanyah’s treatment and later repatriation of the body back to Uganda, he confirmed that the legislative arm has been footing the bill, despite it being a state burial whose duty falls under state house.
“We have come this far from the treatment of Jacob, imagine from the treatment, it was funded by parliament. Parliament has done all it could including bringing the body here, it isn’t a simple matter,” said Obore.
Asked to clarify on recent reports that the former Speaker’s burial would cost over Shs2.5Bn, whose budget was reportedly reduced to Shs1.8Bn, Obore said that Parliament leadership is also seeing the figures from newspapers, but no penny has come from state coffers to fund Oulanyah’s burial.
He explained: “The problem we read all these figures in newspapers the actual money isn’t there, the worry is will this money come after the burial, what will be its purpose? We are throwing everything we could to ensure that Jacob gets a decent burial.”
A visibly angry Obore didn’t hold back when it came to lamenting about the bureaucracy that has engulfed funding of Oulanyah’s burial, wondering why the former Speaker’s death is treated as any other disaster that warrants urgent funding and state attention.
“Some bureaucracies are really frustrating, checks and balances are good, but if they don’t result into the desired then they aren’t meant to help. Bureaucracy without focus on results isn’t a good one. How long does it take to get money in Uganda? This isn’t a project you say there is a feasibility study done, this is death to us this is a disaster, why should it be taking all that long?” asked Obore.
It should be recalled that it has been over a fortnight since President Museveni announced the passing on of former Speaker Oulanyah, however Obore revealed that Parliament has been waiting for the national organizing committee to take over the bills, but the Committee hasn’t moved an inch to takeover its responsibility, leaving Parliament to carry the burden.
He said: “It is Parliament meeting the costs, so we are saying, when is the national organizing committee meet the costs? They are overburdening us everything that is being done is on the weight of parliament and we are saying this is a state funeral, relieve us of the burden or support us to carry the burden.”
Obore’s lamentations come at the time over the weekend, lawmakers of Acholi Parliamentary Group protested the decision by Government to reduce the burial budget for Oulanyah from Shs1.8Bn that was approved by Parliament to Shs1.2Bn.
Leading the ranting was Anthony Akol (Kilak North) who also doubles as the Group’s chairperson who threatened to mobilise well-wishers to contribute and have a decent burial for the late former Speaker.
Geofrey Feta (Ayivu East) alleged that some people in the National organizing committee for the Burial want to turn this funeral into an enterprise for making money because, the burial of Oulanyah supersedes all matters in Uganda.
Catherine Lamwaka (Omoro DWR) lashed out at the members of the national organizing committee of sharing amongst themselves hefty allowances yet mourners camped at Oulanyah’s home in Muyenga are going hungry without anything to eat or drink.
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