Jacob Oulanyah was a Ugandan Politician who served as the Speaker of Parliament of Uganda the highest legislative body in the country from May 2021 up to his death in March 2022. He also served as the MP Omoro County MP and Speaker of Parliament.
Early Life and Education of Jacob Oulanyah
Born in then Gulu District 23 March 1965, Jacob Oulanyah is a son to L’okori and Karen Atwon. His name Oulanyah means winner. He was born in a grass thatched mud house that had a floor that would be smeared with cow dung.
He joined Lalongi Primary School for his Primary Education, then St. Joseph College Layibi, Dr. Obote College Boroboro for his O Level education and Kololo Secondary School for his A Level.
He joined Makerere University in 1988 and graduated in 1991 with Bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics. He entered the law school in the same year at Makerere University graduating in 1994 with Bachelor of Laws.
In 1995 he was admitted at Law Development Centre (LDC) where he was awarded with Postgraduate diploma in legal practice.
Teaching Career & Legal practice.
Upon his graduation at Law Development Centre, Jacob Oulanyah was retained at the institution as a lecturer.
At the same time he started his legal practice at the law firm known as Oulanyah, Onoria & Company Advocates.
Political Career of Jacob Oulanyah
Jacob Oulanyah served as the speaker of the guild council at his time at Makerere University.
He joined active politics in 2001 where he contested for the parliamentary seat of Omoro County in Gulu. A cardholder of UPC, Jacob Oulanyah managed to win the seat under the non party movement system of 2001 elections in Uganda.
He was appointed the Chairman Legal and parliamentary affairs committee in 2005 that handled the Constitutional Amendment Bill which proposed the removal of presidential term limits.
Upon the return of multiparty politics in Uganda in 2006 elections, Oulanyah contested again for Omoro Country Member of Parliament but lost.
Oulanyah was part of government representatives who participated in talks with Joseph Kony to bring peace to Northern Uganda which had been devastated by a 20 year Civil War of Lord’s Resistance Army.
Upon losing the re-election bid, Oulanyah dumped UPC for NRM.
He served as the Chairman of the commission of inquiry into the controversial sub-lease of Kisekka Market a popular market in the Kampala Central Business District.
Jacob Oulanyah presented himself once again before electorates in 2011 and was elected back to parliament representing Omoro County on the NRM Ticket.
He was elected as Deputy Speaker of Parliament on May 19, 2011 a position that he maintained up to May 2021 (after a re-election in May 2016).
In 2011, Oulanyah for the first time joined NRM Central Executive Committee CEC as Vice Chairperson Northern Uganda region.
Upon re-election for the Omoro Country MP seat in 2016, Jacob Oulanyah was also re-elected as a deputy speaker of parliament getting 300 votes against 115 votes of his opponent Muhammad Nsereko.
In 2021, Jacob Oulanyah was re-elected for the 4th term as the MP of Omoro County.
In the same year, he was elected the Speaker of Parliament (310 votes) defeating the Incumbent Rebbecca Kadaga (197) and Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) candidate and Kira Municipality MP Ssemunju Nganda (15).
Jacob Oulanyah got married to Lady Winnie Amoo Okot and together they had children. The couple however legally divorced after the husband filed a petition for divorce citing denial of conjugal rights.
Sickness and Death
In 2021 June, Jacob Oulanyah disappeared from public eye and was no longer chairing parliamentary sittings. This raised speculations in public with some saying that he was having COVID-19 while others speculated possible poisoning.
Hon. Oulanyah was taken to United Kingdom for treatment and he returned in the country in Late July the same year. Despite MPs tasking the deputy speaker of parliament to explain the whereabouts of the Speaker, there was no official information said about the health of Jacob Oulanyah then.
Oulanyah fell sick again in January 2022. He started receiving treatment in Uganda at the National Referral Hospital, Mulago.
The doctors however recommended that the speaker should seek specialized treatment abroad.
On February 4th, Oulanyah was flown out of the country on a chartered plane that costed $500,000 around UGX 1.7 Billion.
He was admitted in a hospital in Seattle, Washington in the United States.
On March 20, 2022, the bow tie man, speaker of parliament, Jacob L’Okori Oulanyah breathed his last. According to the president of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, he received the news of the Speaker’s death at around 10:30 AM EAT.