Speaker predicted his death, says MP Odria

 Members of Parliament during a special sitting to honour the late Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah, at Parliament on Tuesday. PHOTO / DAVID LUBOWA
 

What you need to know:

  • Odria, who broke down twice before completing his speech, said he last met Oulanyah in February, three days before he was flown to Seattle where he died on March 20.

The Aringa South Member of Parliament,  Mr Yorke Alion Odria, yesterday told the House that in his last interaction with the former Speaker Jacob Oulanyah, the latter told him that he knew he was going to die.

Odria, who broke down twice before completing his speech, said he last met Oulanyah in February, three days before he was flown to Seattle where he died on March 20.

He added that Oulanyah asked him to inform the MPs to forgive him and that he had also forgiven those who could have offended him during his tenure as both Deputy Speaker and Speaker respectively.

“[In] February this year, when he fell ill, after six days in Mulago Specialised Women’s Hospital, seventh floor, he instructed his security to come and call me to go and see him. I came on a Monday… Honourable members, you couldn’t believe. I was with him on Monday that day and he was flown to Seattle, [the US], on Thursday. He told me I have been sick before and I know the pain of sickness, but this one is too much. I am not surviving this anymore and I have few days to go’,” Odria recounted.

“His son Andrew was there as my witness. I broke down. He told me to tell members, it’s all about forgiveness. He told me to tell you that we should forgive each other,” he added before emotionally ending his eulogy.

Mr Odria said he first met Oulanyah in 2016 when he joined the 10th Parliament and that the former Speaker enroled him as one of the mobilisers during the futile attempt to win the speakership seat.

The National Resistance Movement Central Executive Committee nominated Ms Rebecca Kadaga for the position with Oulanyah settling for the deputy position. The two would square off again in 2021 race where the same CEC this time ditched Kadaga and went for  Oulanyah who eventually emerged the Speaker, serving for only nine months before he died last month.

During the nine-month period, Oulanyah chaired a total of 24 sessions. Majority of the sessions were handled by then Deputy Speaker Anita Among.

According to Mr Odria, Oulanyah’s last celebratory interactions were in January when he went to thank the people of West Nile for supporting him during both NRM elections and the Speaker race.

“He called me and said I am coming to thank the people of northern Uganda, but I am starting from West Nile for having voted me as the vice chairperson and also the Speaker of the 11th Parliament. Indeed this January he was in West Nile. I hosted him and every time he was in West Nile with his entire team, all his meals were in my house..,” Odria said.

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