- Updated by Faith Barbara Namagembe at 1431 EAT on Saturday 26 March 2022.
Oulanyah’s unfinished mansion
President Yoweri Museveni has reportedly committed to pay school fees for the children and dependants of fallen speaker of parliament Jacob Oulanyah. Museveni allegedly made the commitment while meeting the Greater North Parliamentary Forum representatives at State House Nakasero yesterday Thursday.
The 15-member delegation from Acholi, Lango and West Nile had sought audience with the president demanding that the vacant position be ring-fenced for northern Uganda, where the Oulanyah hailed from.Established in May 2008, the forum offers political leadership and monitoring to the post-conflict and recovery process of Northern Uganda. It comprises of all MPs from the Greater North offering a neutral space for MPs to engage beyond party constraints.
The MPs argued that Oulanyah’s influence earned the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party overwhelming support in Northern Uganda for the first time in three decades. They also pointed out that Oulanyah short-lived his speakership dream, serving for only nine months.
Judith Alyek, the Lango Parliamentary Group chairperson told URN in an interview at Kololo Independence Grounds that Museveni agreed to equally pay for all dependents who were being financially supported by Oulanyah. “The issue of the children that the late left behind, the president pledged a commitment of helping these children seeing to it that their future is good and also there are children that the late hon. Oulanyah was paying for school fees – more than 50 dependants. So the president also agreed to help them,” said Alyek.Alyek who doubles as Kole district Woman MP, met the president with Anthony Akol (Acholi Parliament Group chairperson), and Laurence Songa Biyika (West Nile Parliamentary Group). They confirmed that Museveni further committed to complete the construction of Oulanyah’s multi-billion village mansion in Omoro district.
Douglas Peter Okello, the Omoro district chairperson earlier disclosed that the late Oulanyah was financially supporting up to 150 learners in primary, secondary, and university. Thus, the president’s pledge comes as a relief to the dependents who had predicted a future of uncertainties.
The visiting team also confirmed that the president requested another meeting on a date yet to be determined before he referred their demands to the central executive committee (CEC), the highest decision-making organ of the NRM which opposed ring-fencing the speaker position.
Gilbert Olanya, the Kilak South County MP in Amuru district expressed disappointment with the president over his decision to decline the demands of the concerned MPs, arguing that the deceased’s position was a reward to him and the region.
Oulanyah, 56, died on Sunday, March 20 in a hospital in Seattle, US where he was admitted for specialized treatment since February 4. He was the first serving speaker to die in office.