President Museveni has eulogised the fallen Speaker of Parliament Jacob L’Okori Oulanyah and commended him for fostering unity in Northern Uganda.
“Death robbed us of Jacob Oulanyah. He is a big loss to the country because we were going to get much from him. He played a critical role in unifying the people of Northern Uganda. He tried to foster unity. I commend and salute him,” Museveni said at Kololo Independence grounds.
Oulanyah died on 20th March 2022 in Seattle, USA barely two months after he was admitted in February this year. He was on February 3, 2021; Oulanyah was flown to the US aboard a Chartered Uganda Airlines aircraft A330 to Seattle for expert medical attention after efforts by medics at Mulago National Referral paid no dividends.
Museveni said Oulanyah’s impact was exhibited while he was chairing the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee which handled a Bill that saw the removal of term limits in 2005.
The President castigated MPs from northern Uganda who were questioning his death and preaching sectarianism noting that Oulanyah was a Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda and not northern Uganda.
“Oulanyah was supported by the National Resistance Movement (NRM) after establishing that he is such an important leader. He was a nationalist and a Pan Africanist. When he saw the light in the NRM, he crossed from the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC),” he said.
The President asked Ugandans to take care of their lives noting that health is a weapon. “I came to know about Jacob Oulanyah’s health problem when he went to Dubai for treatment. If he had told me (earlier), I would have told him to concentrate on his health. He was busy involving himself in his work,” he said.
Earlier, Andrew Ojok, the late Oulanyah’s son, asked people to join them, not to mourn but to celebrate a man whose life was dedicated to his family, community, party, country and God.
“I thank President Museveni and Mama Janet for supporting our dad not only in his political aspirations but also when his health became critical. He was proud to call you a mentor,” he said.
The Archbishop Stephen Kazimba Mugalu who was the chief mourner called for revisiting the provision of the constitution of parliament which directs for immediate election of the Speaker of Parliament when his or her predecessor dies.
“The grave is the richest place on earth because it has taken many people down there. For the believers, there is life beyond death. Life does not end in the grave. There is hope amidst hopelessness. I think about all the brains that are buried in the ground. Recently, we were here for Mutebile. I think about our great musicians; Bongole’s songs that were never written,” Archbishop said.
“I was wondering how someone could win the votes, become a speaker but only to lead for nine months. God’s ways are not our words, he has authority over us. The grave is not a permanent place for us. It is a temporary home where we rest before we go to rejoice with God in heaven,” he said.
According to the burial program, Oulanyah’s body will be airlifted to Omoro, Lalogi village; the Speaker’s ancestral home where it will be received by the family and Acholi leaders.
Thursday 7th April 2022 the body will lie at Lalogi for final respects by members of the public. Friday 8th April 2022 the burial ceremony will start at 9.00 am. The day will be observed as a Public Holiday as declared by H.E. the President.