8th April 2022 was declared a public Holiday to allow all citizens of Uganda fully participate in the burial of the late Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah. At the funeral, Members of Parliament both from the ruling party and opposition eulogized the late as a principled man, one with integrity, good time keeper and a charismatic leader.
His demise left a huge gap in the hearts of many parliamentarians and Ugandans at Large that on Tuesday 5, March 2022, they agreed to set the 23rd of March as a memorial day of the fallen Speaker which is to be celebrated annually as a national public holiday.
Debating the establishment of the Oulanyah memorial day, Olive Najjuma wondered whether Oulanyah had performed extremely well for the country to deserve a public day in his remembrance though there are reports of his good work.
“My question here is, what criteria do we base on as a country to dish out public holidays?” She asked. “When we talk about people as Janan Luwum who has a public holiday in his memory, you remember how he was killed by Amin and his contribution to the country, we have Independence day, which is the day we became a Republic and it matters, the Uganda martyrs day all which call for celebration because they have a backstory to them.”
“I am not saying that the former Speaker didn't do well for the country, but did he do well enough to deserve a public holiday?” She queried.
Her guest host Don Andre, a stand up comedian, suggested that naming a street in Kampala in respect to the fallen Speaker would be enough, adding that establishing a public holiday for Oulanyah was unjustified and held no water.
The discussion was happening on RX Radio’s The Brunch Talk show as the presenters commented on some of the controversies that happened during the aftermath of the death of the former Speaker and Omori County MP Jacob Oulanyah.
They went further to dispute President Museveni’s remarks during the burial of Oulanyah where he said that had he known that Oulanyah was sick, he wouldn't have let him become the Speaker of Parliament.
Olive wondered whether the president’s statements have unveiled the fact that he chooses who assumes positions as the speaker as he openly said and has the power to dismiss or reject whoever as he pleases.
Her guest host also added that a picture is painted on the absolute power the president has over whom he chooses for certain political positions.
Furthermore, they commented on the budget that was slashed twice to make the entire burial budget almost equal to the initial amount the budget had indicated. According to Olive, this generated questions of what the 1.2 billion shillings initially scheduled was going to be spent on if the final budget made 1.2 billion shillings with everything covered.
However, the parliamentarians agreed to contribute the 554 million shillings towards the Jacob Oulanyah Trust Fund that he was using to finance the education of over 100 students including his children which is now to be chaired by the Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo.
According to medical reports, Jacob Oulanyah succumbed to Lymphoma cancer on March 20, 2022 in Seattle, US where he had been transferred for specialized treatment. His body was brought back to the country on April 1, 2022 and he was laid to rest on April 8 2022 in his ancestral home in Larogi, Omoro District.
Brunch Talk is hosted by Olive Najjuma Monica every Saturday from Midday to 1pm on RX Radio.