The mysterious wind at Oulanyah Funeral

  • Updated by Faith Barbara Namagembe at 1020 EAT on Wednesday 13 April 2022.
A gust of wind scattered the tent and wreath that covered the casket

A gust of wind scattered the tent and wreath that covered the casket

When former Speaker of Parliament Jacob L’Okori Oulanyah gave up the fight and succumbed to cancer as reported by the Health minister Jane Ruth Aceng, he did not foresee the drama that would follow his demise.The 18 days spent preparing for his state funeral were also some of the most dramatic Ugandans have ever seen. Accusations and counter accusations of tribalism; the chief justice dragging the Kabaka into the circus ring before eating humble pie and apologising profusely; the budget of Shs 2.5bn that closed at Shs 1.2bn following public outrage; the ugly Twitter wars; the scenes in Omoro… All these could make for a good film.When Oulanyah’s remains were finally flown in from Seattle, USA where he died, the drama only kicked up a notch. Talk that Oulanyah had been poisoned – started by his father Nathan Okori – were quickly quashed by an angry President Museveni, who ordered for the speculators to be arrested.Calm seemed to return momentarily, until the burial ceremonies in Omoro district started on April 8, when it was reported that Mzee Okori was not on the official list of people to eulogise his son.Oulanyah’s children had spoken, but Okori was yet to be called to the podium. As if to signal the dead man’s dissent, a fierce whirlwind swept through the hot venue, sweeping away the small tent over Oulanyah’s casket even as the A-Plus pallbearers clung desperately onto the tent’s poles.The MCs’ tent was not spared either, before the whirlwind knocked down one of the giant screens projecting the day’s proceedings. The Acholi, known to be superstitious like many tribes in Uganda, cheered the ‘omen’ as MPs and ministers scampered to safety.Armed security personnel, guns cocked and ready, rushed to protect the VIPs as some female MPs were seen buried in prayer, casting out the evil spirit that threatened to take over the event.The choir on the other side started singing, as locals ran to the front to witness “the son of their soil express his discontent”, while the MC repeatedly called for calm.Physics may have an explanation for whirlwind formations, especially given the hot weather, but in many parts of Uganda these spiralling winds are referred to as spirits of the dead and are never taken lightly.No wonder, soon after that episode Mzee Okori was called to speak, but he only threw a spanner into the works, restating in Luo that his son was poisoned; that he told him so, as the crowd cheered him on.And now, the question dominating debate and social media remains: who poisoned the Speaker, and why?
Going by history, don’t hold your breath for answers, but may Ladit Oulanyah sleep well in eternity!

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