Secrets why deputy speaker Anita Among cancelled parliamentary proceedings to fly to the US to see ailing speaker Jacob oulnayah have leaked to us.
The inspector has exclusively learnt that Among actually travelled to the US after being expressly summoned by her ailing boss Oulanyah.
A source privy to Among’s abrupt journey to Oulanyah’s sickbed in the US revealed that Oulanyah summoned Among and the entourage she travelled with after doctors gave him some scary news regarding his life.
“The doctors seem to believe that they have done everything humanly possible but his condition doesn’t seem to improve for the better. He therefore summoned his deputy to forge a way forward; including preparing for the worst,” a source revealed to us.
For some time now, the Speaker’s health has remained a very contentious matter in the country, causing all turns and twists. As we speak now, it’s a heavily guarded affair, especially after parliament banned speculation over the same, reserving all rights of communication about it to deputy speaker Anita Among.
And indeed, Among has handled this duty to secrecy perfectly, as the public has been left largely guessing on Oulanyah’s health since his hospitalisation last month.
We have learnt that to occasionally break this information vacuum, the Deputy Speaker assigned Parliament’s communication guru Sarah Kagingo to occasionally upload some images and updates on the speaker’s official social media handles. Sources however revealed that the messages are simply to give hope to Ugandans but the speaker remains terribly ill. It is therefore not surprising that a journey like yesterday’s only drew as much interpretation as possible!
As per reports, Among on Tuesday led a team of Oulanyah’s close kin and kith from Acholi; including his brother Francis Emuna, DP president Norbert Mao and Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo who travelled to the US to check on the hospitalized Speaker.
Curiously, the visit was sudden, coming after the abrupt suspension of Parliamentary business after only 30 minutes of proceedings, in order for Among to make it. It should be noted that on that day (Tuesday march 15, 2022) parliament had scheduled to tackle the all-important debate on rising commodity prices following persistent public outcry that government has left citizens at the mercy of the unforgiving forces of demand and supply in respect to consumption of essential commodities like soap, cooking oil and fuel among others.
As expected, the impromptu nature of the visit and the composition of the entourage quickly led to speculation that the Speaker had finally breathed his last. Consequently, social media went buzzing with Oulanyah death messages, the highlight of which was an alleged Wikipedia page which had been edited to show Oulanyah’s date of death as 14 March 2022.
Further speculation was that the Among group went to make arrangements of repatriating the speaker’s body back to the country.
This was however quashed by Parliament director for communication, Chris Obore. Confirming that the Deputy Speaker had indeed travelled to the US to check on the speaker’s health and also brief him about the progress of the parliamentary business, Obore castigated those that were spreading news of the speaker’s death. He also explained that the Wikipedia page going viral was a fake, having been circulated by people who edited it via VPN to avoid detection.
Obore, however, attributed the widespread rumors to societal dynamics leaning towards moral decadence.
“This speculation is because of what we have become as a society. I don’t know whether people want to hear bad news all the time,” he said.
For the record, speaker Jacob Oulanyah last chaired the House on November 24, 2021, shortly after which his health deteriorated. On February 3, 2022, he was flown to the US in the much controversial shs1bn chartered flight, UR2, 5X-NIL, which drew mass protests by Ugandans in the diaspora; especially those aligned to the opposition National unity platform.
The protests were heavily criticized by Oulnayah’s fellow Acholi, led by Norbert Mao, Anthony Akol and Ojara Mapenduzi. These looked at the protests as an attempt to block the treatment of one of their own yet many eminent Ugandans from other regions have received similar treatment without much fuss. The group vowed to fight back on the premise that “blood is thicker than water”. Since then, Akol has clashed with LoP Mathias Mpuuga, Ojara has successfully caused the impeachment of NUP’s Zaake from the post of parliamentary commissioner while Mao’s vicious attack against NUP has turned into a never-ending political soap opera.
Meanwhile, the opposition Forum for democratic change (FDC) has wished a quick recovery to speaker Oulanyah. In a statement issued on their social media pages, FDC noted that despite the political differences between Oulanyah’s NRM and their party, “it’s a reminder that we are one Uganda, one people. We pray for a quick recovery.”