Parliament clarifies on Oulanyah’s absence

Wednesday June 23 2021
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Speaker Jacob Oulanyah

By Franklin Draku

Parliament has dismissed reports that the Speaker, Mr Jacob Oulanyah, is seriously ill and plans are under way to fly him out of the country for treatment.

Sections of the media had reported that the country’s number three was critically ill. 

Mr Chris Obore, the director of Communications at Parliament, in a statement yesterday said  the Speaker is doing well. 

Mr Obore said Mr Oulanyah took time off to be with his family after hectic schedules while on the campaign trail.

“Following a year of intense political campaigns, keeping the Rt. Hon. Speaker away from home for months, he is making some time to be with his family. This has been enabled by the new schedule of work at Parliament,” Mr Obore said.  He added that under the new arrangement, the Speaker and his deputy alternate chairing of House sessions, unlike the 10th Parliament where the deputy only came in when the Speaker was not available.

“The Deputy Speaker chairs the House as a shared responsibility not only when Speaker is away.  That’s the new approach,” Mr Obore said.

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“In keeping with the presidential guidelines on Covid-19, Parliament is, from the top leadership, scaling down physical presence at work. The Rt Hon Speaker advises the general public to observe the SOPs and keep safe,” he added. 

Parliament recently cut down the number of staff to only 20 per cent to decongest the House as a measure to contain the spread of Covid-19. 

Mr Oulanyah has not publically  issued a statement about the status of his health. 

Attempts to contact him on his known mobile phone number proved futile as his number was busy. 

However, a group known as Team Oulanyah earlier tweeted about him, denying rumours of his alleged illness.

While he did not directly tweet, Mr Oulanyah retweeted the same. 

The tweet urges the public to disregard the rumours and advises them to observe the SOPs.

“Fellow Countrymen and Women…Kindly disregard the false alarmist reports about Speaker Jacob Oulanyah. He is well and in great spirits. At the moment, just like majority of you, he is working from home. Please wear your mask, sanitise, wash hands and stay at home,” the tweet reads.

Uganda is currently battling the second wave of Covid-19.

A number of government officials, including doctors, have succumbed to the disease. 

On Monday, 17 ministers missed the swearing-in after it emerged that some either tested positive or had contacts who tested positive for Covid.

At least 72,679 people in the country have tested positive, with 680 deaths confirmed.

Government last week declared 42 days of lockdown to curb further spread. 

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