Omoro County MP, Jacob Oulanyah has won the speaker of the 11th parliament contest after polling majority votes of Members of Parliament during their first sitting at Kololo independence grounds on Monday.
The sitting was chaired by the Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny-Dollo. President Yoweri Museveni also attended the proceedings.
Oulanyah defeated his main rival, the Kamuli district Woman MP Rebecca Kadaga and Kira Municipality lawmaker Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda after garnering 310 votes.
Kadaga polled 197 votes and Ssemujju got 15 votes.
Oulanyah has deputized Kadaga in both the 9th and 10th parliament but over the weekend, the NRM party to which both belong, resolved to give the flag for the position of speaker of the 11th parliament to Oulanyah, something that prompted Kadaga to offer herself for election as an independent candidate.
At Kololo before voting started, Oulanyah was nominated by Isingiro North MP, Bright Rwamirama and seconded by Oyam South MP, Betty Amongi.
Rwamirama promised that Oulanyah would ensure independence of Parliament and befitting welfare of legislators.
“I second the nomination of Jacob Oulanyah on two grounds. He believes in Uganda and is a nationalist. He also believes in Constitutionalism,” said Amongi.
When he presented his Expression of Interest letter to the NRM Electoral Commission, Oulanyah, said he aspires to change the image of the Parliament.
“We want to see the story of the 11th parliament be retold and rewritten, we want to sing praises of the parliament of Uganda. The situation has not been good, the country has resented its members, we want that to change,” Oulanyah reiterated, adding that he seeks to restore confidence, respect and trust of the people in parliament.
He asserted that parliament ought to focus on service delivery to the people and help them in the social economic transformation of their lives.
Oulanyah was born in the Gulu District, on 23 March 1965. 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.
In 2001, he entered politics by successfully contesting for the parliamentary seat of Omoro County, 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.
He has been the Vice Chairperson of the Appointments Committee of Parliament, one that reviews all Cabinet appointments by the President and may approve or reject an appointment.