Family, friends, and national leaders gathered to remember the former Speaker of Parliament, the late Jacob Oulanyah in a memorial service held at All Saints Cathedral in Kampala.
The memorial service to mark one year of Oulanyah’s death was held on Monday, 20 March 2023 and graced by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa, Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo and Members and staff of Parliament.
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The service led by Dr. Hannington Mutebi, the Assistant Bishop of Kampala Diocese duly started at 3:00 pm as indicated in the order of service, an attribute of timekeeping that the deceased strictly observed.
Mutebi said Oulanyah participated in every detail of the church activity and was a Christian who loved God and supported the church.
Oulanyah died of multiple organ failure on Sunday, 20 March 2022 in Seattle, Washington, United States. He had been battling cancer.
The Speaker of Parliament Anita Among in her speech read by Tayebwa said that even with the short life he lived, Oulanyah left behind a legacy of immeasurable bounds.
“As a country, the late Oulanyah stood tall like a colossus; he represented the current and future of our national leadership. Many of our leaders and young people looked up to him for inspiration, advice, and guidance on good leadership,” Among said.
She added that Oulanyah left a big impact in Parliament by greatly influencing the way of doing business, especially in areas of timekeeping and processing of bills and motions.
“The late Oulanyah believed in honesty and speaking frankly about national issues. Today, we have a parliament in which those values are cherished and practiced by most of its members and staff. As Parliament of Uganda, we will continue to work towards accomplishing the agenda that Oulanyah set out to achieve during his term of office,” Among said.
On his part, Tayebwa described Oulanyah as a blueprint for legislative practice.
He said he learned to treat people with respect from Oulanyah and also learned practices of steering the House from Oulanyah.
He said Oulanyah guided him through a lot of things including the quality of debate and how to run the House.
“If you want to be successful, just go on YouTube. When I am home and I am having certain situations, I always prepare for the House, I go on YouTube, I see how Jacob handled the House… and you see he handled these very difficult situations,” Tayebwa said.
Tayebwa also clarified the role of Parliament, saying that Parliament does not exist to question or fight the executive but to complement it.
He said that Parliament’s performance cannot be rated on how the Executive has been disturbed, but on how the three arms of government have complemented each other.
“Ugandans perceive oversight to mean how much you make a minister sweat, how much you allow the President to be abused, how much business you have sent away, that is not oversight,” he said.
The Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo said that the only way justice can be done to the memory and legacy of Oulanyah will be if a public debate is held on his legacy.
He said that thanksgiving is important because God has kept the family of Oulanyah together and given them resilience.
“We gave the vow that through the education foundation that I am privileged to chair, Jacob’s children will pursue their education interest to the highest level that they can afford,” he said.
Omoro County Member of Parliament and a son to the late, Hon. Andrew Ojok Oulanyah hailed Parliament for standing with the deceased’s family adding that many other people including political leaders, the church, and friends and relatives have kept on supporting them.