Uganda News

Replacing Oulanyah before burial produces a sour taste in the mouth.

After the revelation of Speaker Jacob Oulanyah’s death, the catchphrase “politics is a filthy game” became popular.

As the clock crept down to Friday, when the next speaker will be chosen, those who were in tears at his death suddenly changed into probable replacements.

President Yoweri Museveni told the nation at 1:07 p.m. on Sunday afternoon that the 11th parliament’s speaker, Jacob Lokori Oulanya, had died.

Museveni went on to claim that he waited until Oulanya’s family was informed before announcing his death.

Museveni’s declaration caused shockwaves throughout the country, and condolence messages began to pour in shortly after. The country was in sorrow, according to intimate friends, government officials, and coworkers.

Meanwhile, in parliament, where Oulanyah was in charge, top government officials, parliamentary commissioners, and MPs gathered, some were depressed, while others were inconsolable.

They went to Oulanyah’s house for a vigil a short while later, and other people wept there as well.

The clock is resetting……

President Museveni then issued a statement announcing the formation of a National Organizing Committee to handle Oulanyah’s official burial and ordering that flags be flown at half mast until his burial.

But all of this information went right over Ugandans’ heads, and the story would alter moments later with the news that everything would be put on hold until a replacement speaker could be found.

5:24pm

A document signed by government chief whip Thomas Tayebwa for a special caucus meeting called by President Museveni to discuss the speakership was circulated.

7:39pm

The NRM electoral commission produced another paper 2 hours later, requesting expressions of interest for the position of NRM Flag Bearer for Speaker, with Friday set as the voting day.

Before you knew it, they were talking about resignations, deadlines for nominations and expressions of interest, and campaign posters.

Many Ugandans were taken aback by how quickly the conversation had shifted from Oulanyah’s death to finding a replacement even before his body was brought to the country he so faithfully served.

So, when the body of the immediate past speaker arrives in the country, there will be a substantive speaker to welcome it, and life will go on as usual.

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