The August House Eulogizes former Speaker of parliament Late Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah
One by one, Members of Parliament gave moving tributes as they spoke about the deceased former speaker of the 11th parliament Jacob Oulanyah in a special sitting dedicated to honour his works for the country.
At 9am, the casket containing Oulanyah’s body was wheeled onto the Parliament premises to the welcome of a guard of honour by MPs.
In a bid to replace his matching bow-tie, an attire he loved so much and never missed, the legislators donned the same, regardless of their gender.
These also carried balloons in the Uganda national flag colors to signify hope as the casket was wheeled through the guard of honour.
A red carpet and bouquets of flowers that the deceased loved so much were also prepared in his honour.
On the floor of parliament, the plenary session chaired by Speaker Anita Among was ready for the special sitting in honour of the late speaker.
The House was unusually full to capacity.
“No one will forget the role played by Oulanyah in the peace talks between LRA and government of Uganda,” said Speaker Among before inviting Vice President Jessica Alupo to move a motion for a resolution of Parliament to pay special tribute to Oulanyah.
As a somber mood and emotions engulfed the precincts of the August House, one legislator after the other paid tribute to the deceased former speaker of the house that many described as a uniting figure.
“We have lost a person in Oulanyah but in him a gallant son of Uganda. His was a life lived with a clear purpose and humility. The county and parliament have lost a critical thinker. We have some people in life who think after talking but Jacob would think before talking,” former NRM Secretary General and current Minister for General Duties in the Office of the Prime Minister said.
The Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Mathias Mpuuga described the deceased as one who exhibited fairness, despite the pressure exerted on him.
“There are individuals in this house that believe opposition is here illegally and that it is such a bother and an intrusion. It is not true that at all times we must agree. We owe in his memory, the nature of politics that embraces our differences and diversities. We should use it to serve common good He was a unifier and could give space and listen to everyone. Let this be an inspiration to all of us,”Mpuuga said.
Shadow Attorney General, Wilfred Nuwagaba said for the over 30 years he had known Oulanyah, he appreciated the law.
“He was one of the influential members in passing the Amnesty Act with northern Uganda and its people at heart.As speakers you must read beyond what the members have read .You must know economic, medicine, engineering, law and everything. He did that. He was well versed in whatever bill was presented.”
Bright Rwamirama: I met him in the seventh parliament. He was a very objective person. He was chairman legal and parliamentary committee and during that time there was the controversial constitutional amendment. Majority of the committee was for amendment and although he was against it, he presented the report. This showed he was a dependable personality who knew the law and when to apply it. He was fair, rational and that’s why he pooled all over to his side.
Bayiga Lulume; I am mourning him because at his prime time he has departed. The man who has worked tirelessly throughout his prime time and when the country and world are looking at him to offer leadership not only for parliament but the country at large, the Lord has called him. It is so sad. I celebrate him because when I joined university in 1991, him and his cohort of other young men from Northern Uganda like Norbert Mao inspired us.He was one of the people we looked up to, to get views on how Uganda could be managed. I celebrate a person of his caliber.
Frank Tumwebaze: He was an all-round human being who exuded the Ubuntu spirit. He taught many of us to be patient even when provoked. As a leader, provocation is inevitable but you have to manage it. His was not elected for speaker because of affirmative action but because of his intellectual brilliance. He was never a populist. He stood for politics of the answer not anger. It is my appeal as we celebrate his life, we should tolerate one another. The principle of the dead are not dead is true in our brother.
Betty Amongi: He understood he could not stand alone and needed not only people of Northern Uganda but people of Uganda and the world to flourish.I was with him in Juba during peace process. I worked with him. His principle even during the peace talks was engagement. My brother I want to say history will reward your accomplishment and what you have done.
Jim Muhwezi: He was an outstanding debator whose eloquence braced this house for so many years. He was smart both physically and intellectually. He was cable of making boring event humorous leaving everyone cracking his ribs but maintained a high level of seriousness and relevancy of the matter at hand. His grasp of laws was unmatched.”
Abdul Katuntu: I have known him for 34 years. I don’t know how many people have known Oulanyah for as long as I have. There are not many. In 1988, I was a second year student at university and met two men, one very tiny and short and the other, a bit taller and this was Jacob Oulanyah. At that time UPC officials were recruiting us students to participate in students’ politics. That’s how we were recruited in student politics as members of UPC. Together with the other short man(Mao), if you met them, you would dismiss them until they opened their mouths. Then you would know they were so intelligent. They were also good orators. He exhibited the spirit of winning and reaching out to the vanquished. Only few reach out to the people they have own. Oulanyah did. Whether you annoy him today, tomorrow he will call you in office and you sort out the matter. That is where it would end . He rose from nothing in NRM as a recruit to vice chairman. What more would you need? Even then, Jacob had sense of humility. You would not see when interacting with him that he was big man. We are burying one of the best leaders this country will ever have.
Laura Kanushu: What is killing public office is pride. When people assume public office, they can’t say hello to people they are seated next to. Leaders of this country, if we can be humble then God will give us the wisdom that Jacob Oulanyah had. The offices are temporary. Be humble. Accept people the way they come. Put pride aside because it is God who has given you that office.
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