Members of Parliament will sit on Tuesday, March 29, to elect the new speaker of Parliament following the death of Jacob Oulanyah.
Oulanyah who doubled as the Omoro County legislator and Vice-Chairperson of the ruling National Resistance Movement – NRM party for Northern Uganda becomes Uganda’s first ever serving speaker to die in office. He was flown out of the country on February 3, 2022, for specialized treatment following a referral by Doctors at Mulago National Referral Hospital where he was admitted before his condition deteriorated.
However, the Constitution provides that no business shall be transacted in Parliament other than an election to the office of Speaker at any time that the office falls vacant. The election, under the circumstances, will be presided over by the Chief Justice or a judge designated by the Chief Justice, until the new speaker takes an oath.
The new speaker will then preside over the session to eulogise his predecessor who died on Sunday from a hospital in Seattle, Washington. The special parliamentary session will be held on Thursday, March 31, 2022, ahead of his burial which is scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 2, 2022, in Lalogi, Omoro District, according to a tentative programme issued this afternoon.
But Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka says the government will give a formal communication on what legal and practical steps will be following Oulanyah’s demise.
“I know what the law is but let’s be sensitive to the feelings of the family,” he added, “Can’t we allow the news to first sink in so that the government can reorganize itself before we can think of interpretations?
He asked for more time, saying, “Let government first give a clear position on what we are going to do then I can respond to those questions of the process of replacing a Speaker who has died in office.” Kiryowa explained that “giving legal answers without taking care of the practical aspects [such as funeral arrangements] will leave more questions unanswered.”