Family and friends of the late Speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon Jacob Oulanyah, have described him as a courageous and corruption-free person who wanted to shape the debate in Parliament.
Hundreds of mourners gathered at the pre-funeral service for Jacob Oulanyah at his residence in Muyenga on Wednesday, 23 March 2022 to celebrate the life of the Speaker who passed away in Seattle, United States of America (USA) where he was receiving treatment.
Oulanyah served as Speaker for less than a year after serving for 10 years as Deputy Speaker in the 10th Parliament.
The mourners at the service described Oulanyah as a person of character, principles and dialogue even in the toughest of times. Several others testified of his generosity as he sponsored needy children in school and gave towards charity.
Andrew Ojok, Oulanyah’s son said that his father believed in the spirit of Ubuntu which is all about togetherness and how what he did affect the society he lived in.
“He believed so much in being charitable and in all this, he went out of his way, and he would not speak about it. He did a lot of good things but he kept them to himself,” Ojok said.
The Minister for Animal Industry, Hon. Bright Rwamirama described Oulanyah as a man of principles who was humble and loved people.
“He was dependable, had the qualities to be Speaker, he raised the bar so high. Both the Government and the Opposition were all happy, may we aspire to hold Uganda together,” he said.
Rwamirama who was one of the key pieces of Oulanyah’s speakership bid said that the deceased was respectful, simple and didn’t live the life of boastfulness. He says in honor of Oulanyah, Ugandans need to value competence.
Hon. Henry Okello Oryem, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said that Oulanyah was his inspiration alongside Dr Olara Otunnu, legendary politician Omwony Ojok, and the Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo, adding that these are the people who shaped him.
He said Oulanyah would get the best out of a person in an engagement and was always a progressive man.
“Oulanyah brought the best out of me; Oulanyah would shape you. I wish I knew about his condition, maybe some of us would ask Oulanyah some tough questions”.
He added that Oulanyah never talked to anybody about his challenges and preferred to be silent.
The Democratic Party (DP) President, Norbert Mao who was with Oulanyah in his last days in the USA said Oulanyah knew how to suffer quietly.
He said Oulanyah was an accomplished lawyer, who did not tolerate nonsense and was so down to earth. Mao, however, added that Oulanyah was both tough, friendly and humorous even in the way he conducted business.
“He would tell chaotic MPs humorously, ‘do you know why Parliament was built near the National Theatre, so that those of you who love comedy don’t have to travel far, just cross the road and have fun’,” Mao said.
Opio Oloya, a cousin and close friend to Oulanyah described Oulanyah as a great man, who cared and loved his family and friends. He said that at the point of his death, Oulanyah fought hard and was very strong.
“He died a man with a clean heart, a man who loved people, a man who cared deeply for people and this country,” Opio Oloya said.
Parliament’s Director of Communication and Public Affairs, Chris Obore, a close friend to the late Speaker said that Jacob only wanted to make a mark on how parliament legislation is done.
He said Oulanyah was not after money, and some people might say he made money but the deceased actually entered his Muyenga home without it being complete.
“The house in Omoro; I have seen people flashing, I can tell you without fear…Jacob said, ‘I am going to bring a global village in Omoro at Ayomlony village, that house he was not going to reside in it’. He was going to make it a resort for Omoro and tap into tourism, and every coin he got, he put in it. But now people are beginning to scandalize Jacob, this man was not corrupt,” Obore said.