President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has regretted the demise of the former Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah, saying that had he known about his ailment, he would have advised him to concentrate on his health.
The President made the statement while addressing mourners during the national vigil of the fallen Speaker held at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds in Kampala on Wednesday. Oulanyah succumbed to cancer in Seattle, USA on March 20, 2022.
Museveni explained that Oulanyah became too busy with national politics while canvassing votes to retain his Omoro County seat, and contesting for the National Vice Chairperson of the National Resistance Movement – NRM Party for Northern Uganda.
The President noted that at the same time, Oulanyah had expressed interest to contest as Speaker for the 11th Parliament, forcing him to pay less attention to his health which later deteriorated and cost him to pay the ultimate price.Museveni lauded Oulanyah for being a loyal and disciplined cadre, and a nationalist who achieved reuniting the people of northern Uganda and galvanized support for the NRM without tribal inclinations.
A post-mortem report presented before Parliament by Health Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng on Tuesday during a special sitting of Parliament revealed that Oulanyah died of cancer and multiple organ failure.
The national vigil was led by the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda Dr. Stephen Kaziimba Mugalo and attended by bereaved family members, the Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, legislators, Ministers and foreign dignitaries from Kenya, Tanzania, DRC and Rwanda among others.
Oulanyah, 56, was an agricultural economist and a lawyer, who served as the Speaker of the 11th Parliament of Uganda from 2021 until 2022. He becomes the first serving speaker to die in office.
Dr. Jackson Orem, the executive director of Uganda Cancer Institute Mulago who led a team of 15 doctors who managed the deceased’s condition reiterated at the vigil that Oulanyah became too busy with Parliamentary work, and skipped sequences of his recommended treatment compromised his health.
His body was airlifted to Ayomlony village, Lalogi Town Council in Omoro District for the final send-off slated for April 8. Oulanyah also served as Deputy Speaker of the Ugandan parliament, from May 2011 until May 2021. He was born in the then Gulu District to Nathan 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 before joining Makerere University in 1988 and graduating in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts.