The speaker of Parliament, Hon. Jacob L’Okori Oulanyah passed on today in Seattle. His death was confirmed by President Yoweri Museveni.
“It is with a lot of sadness that I announce the death of Jacob Oulanyah, the Speaker of Parliament. I got information of this sad news at 10.30am, East African time from People that have been with him and the doctor that was caring for him in the intensive care unit,” Museveni announced.
Jacob L’Okori Oulanyah was a Ugandan agricultural economist, lawyer and politician, who served as the Speaker of the 11th Parliament of Uganda (2021 – 2022) but passed on 20th March 2022 in Seattle.
He was elected to that position on 24 May 2021, after defeating the former Speaker Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga. He served as Deputy Speaker of the Ugandan parliament, from May 2011 until May 2021. Oulanyah was also the Member of Parliament representing the Omoro County constituency, Omoro District, Acholi sub-region, in Uganda’s Northern Region.
He was born in the then Gulu District, on 23 March 1965 to Nathan L’okori and Karen Atwon. He attended St. Joseph’s College Layibi, Dr. Obote College Boroboro, and Kololo Senior Secondary School for his O-Level and A-Level education.
In 1988, he joined Makerere University, the oldest university in the East African Community, where he studied agricultural economics. He graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts in that subject. That same year, he entered law school, also at Makerere University, graduating in 1994 with a Bachelor of Laws degree. He served as speaker of the university students’ guild during his stay at Makerere. In 1995, he attended the Law Development Centre (LDC), where he obtained a postgraduate diploma in legal practice.
Following his graduation from the LDC, Oulanyah worked as a lecturer at the centre. During the same timeframe, he began private law practice at the law firm of Oulanyah, Onoria & Company Advocates.In 2001, he entered politics by successfully contesting for the parliamentary seat of Omoro County, in the then Gulu District under the no-party system also known as the Movement Political System.
He was however a cardholder of the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC). He also participated in the peace talks between the government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels. In 2006, standing as a UPC candidate, he lost his re-election bid. In July 2006, he quit the UPC and joined the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM).
In 2008, he served as the chairman of the commission of inquiry into the controversial sub-lease of Kisekka Market, one of the municipal markets in the city of Kampala. In March 2011, Oulanyah was elected to represent Omoro County then in Gulu District, in the Ninth Parliament, this time on the NRM ticket. He was elected as Deputy Speaker of Parliament on 19 May 2011.
Following the February 2016 general election, Oulanyah was re-elected as Deputy Speaker of Parliament on 19 May 2016. In the vote, conducted by secret ballot, he received 300 votes, while Muhammad Nsereko received 115. On 13 July 2019, Oulanyah was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Divinity by Zoe Life Theological College USA and acquired the title, Doctor enabling him to be called Rt. Hon. Dr. Jacob L. Oulanyah
On 24th May 2021, Jacob Oulanyah was voted Speaker of Parliament in a race against his former boss, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga and Kira Municipality MP, Ibrahim Ssemujju. Jacob obtained 310 votes against Kadaga’s 197 and Ssemujju 15.