The body of Jacob L’Okori Oulanyah [pictured above] the fallen speaker of parliament of Uganda who died from a hospital in Seattle, US on 20 March 2022 is scheduled to be laid to rest on Friday today at his rural home.
According to reports before his death he had been battling an unknown illness for two months. His death sent shock waves across the East African country. He becomes the first speaker of parliament in Uganda to die in office. Ugandans will witness the process and procedures followed during the burial of a speaker.
“I am not mourning in vain. I want to state clearly that Jacob Oulanyah was poisoned. He told me. The doctors tried to deal with the poison. It affected his health so badly that he could not recover,” said Nathan L’okori, Oulanyah’s father.
Nathan L’okori, Jacob Oulanyah’s father made the remarks while addressing mourners at the burial ceremony of the former speaker.
The seemingly bitter Nathan L’okori noted, “I expected the President to be here in person. Other duties have not allowed him to be here. Tell him that the government of Uganda should complete the house that Oulanyah was constructing.”
However, on Thursday President Yoweri Museveni said that had he known prior that Jacob Oulanyah was juggling his health with politics that he would have told him to concentrate on health.
” If you want to be fighters of Africa, you must pay attention to your health because you need it to fight for Africa. We have lost so many people, from 1972 when we fought Amin to 1986. I know more about the pain of losing people. However, instead of crying, we said we must continue and succeed so that those who died did not do so in vain. Let us succeed for Jacob Oulanyah,” President Museveni said while eulogising the fallen speaker.
Atim, Oulanyah’s daughter told mourners on Friday that her father Jacob Oulanyah was a family man who put us first, “He was a man with his priorities in check. He would pause whatever he was doing to visit us at school on our birthdays. The other students felt that he was a “cool” person”.
According to the Ugandan law the day the speaker or deputy speaker is buried is designated a public holiday. “A public holiday shall be declared on the day of burial, in accordance with the Public Holidays Act.”
According to the same law, a person who dies while holding the office of Speaker or Deputy. Speaker shall be accorded a state funeral.
The law says that 30% of the gross salary of the speaker or deputy speaker shall be used towards funeral expenses.
Sinister move to end Oulanyah’s life
Oulanyah’s family are demanding answers from the government, saying the late had already hinted about plots to end his life. The family says ever since their son was flown out of the country last month, the family was kept in the dark.
Oulanyah, 56 was first hospitalized at Mulago National Referral Hospital in the capital Kampala but his condition deteriorated and was later last month flown aboard a chartered Uganda Airlines Airbus to Seattle, US.
Oulanyah’s death was announced Sunday March 20 afternoon by President Yoweri Museveni although a section of Ugandans started speculating about his death.
Nathan L’Okori, Oulanyah’s father says he is waiting to get an authentic report of his son’s death from President Museveni, insisting that his son didn’t die of natural causes. L’Okori says that before he was airlifted to the US, Oulanyah hinted at a sinister move to end his life, a piece of information that he says Oulanyah repeated even while in the hospital.
Milton Omara, 74, Oulanyah’s paternal uncle says like everybody else, they would also learnt about Oulanyah’s ‘purpoted sickness’ through the media and other speculators. He says no one in government took the initiative to inform the family about what Oulanyah was suffering from. He says that the government needs to clearly explain what exactly killed their son.
Last year in August, local media reported that Museveni had set up a special security team is to probe Oulanyah’s last 48 hours before his health abruptly deteriorated in June, prompting an emergency medical evacuation to the UK on June 22.
The local media quoted sources saying that the president was concerned that Oulanyah could have been poisoned after medical reports from the UK, where he was rushed on June 22, turned out inconclusive.
“Oulanyah’s problem started with stomach complications, then vomiting before he got breathing problems,” said a source familiar with the matter.
Agriculture minister Frank Tumwebaze caused even more speculations after he tweeted about Oulanyah’s death yesterday: “God have mercy, why take people of value & much much value?? Another Mayombo like death, so painful!!!!”.
The tweet was largely interpreted to mean that Oulanyah had been poisoned just like the then ministry of Defense permanent secretary Brig Noble Mayombo. Mayombo it is said, died from a slow-killing poison at Aga Khan hospital in Nairobi, Kenya on May 1, 2007. Tumwebaze later, clarified that his tweet meant that Oulanyah’s death had caused country-wide pain just like Mayombo’s back then in 2007.